Alaska Airlines overwhelmingly votes to authorize strike

The union representing Alaska Airlines flight attendants has voted to authorize a strike.

Flight attendants took to several airports around the nation, including the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to picket for better wages. 

More than 99% of attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA voted to authorize the strike.

"Our time is now!" said AFA Alaska President Jeffrey Peterson. "Alaska Flight Attendants today backed up our fight for an industry-leading contract with a 99.48% strike vote. And we’re out on the picket line demonstrating that we’re ready to do whatever it takes to get the contract we deserve. There’s no excuse: Alaska management has the money to buy another airline, they certainly have the money to invest in Flight Attendants. We have a simple message for management: Pay us, or CHAOS!"

AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System. 

In a statement, Alaska Airlines said, in part: 

"We remain optimistic in the negotiations process. With six recently closed labor deals at the company and a tentative agreement reached in January for a new contract for our technicians, we’re hopeful to do the same for our flight attendants as soon as possible. AFA and Alaska leadership have met twice in the last three weeks and are continuing to bargain and meet with a mediator. Discussions have been productive and in the last two sessions, we reached four tentative agreements.

We respect our flight attendants’ right to communicate what’s important to them during the negotiating process. You may have heard about one recent step, called a strike authorization vote, which was conducted by the union. This type of vote is a common step in the negotiation process. It is not a call to go on strike right now.

…While talk of a strike is concerning, especially for our guests and the communities that rely on our service, it would not happen quickly. Many more steps would need to take place over many months, if not longer, before a strike is even possible. See below for an overview of the negotiations process."

The next step forward is a "cooling off" period before a strike actually begins. 

The last time Alaska Airlines went on strike was 30 years ago in 1993.