Ahead of Busy Summer Season, Airline Workers Express Frustration


Workers at two airlines are making their complaints public, with one preparing to strike and another picketing for a stronger network that won’t leave them stranded.


Alaska Pilots Conduct Strike Vote, In Event Contract Negotiations Break Down

Alaska Airlines have been plagued by cancellations in the opening months of 2022. In January, the airline cut 10% of their flights due to increased COVID-19 infections among workers. By March, the airline warned there could be more cancellations due to rising fuel prices. On top of these challenges, the carrier could also see cancellations due to a pilot strike.


Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO-TV reports the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) will hold a vote to authorize a union strike. After the master executive council unanimously voted to conduct the strike-authorization ballot, voting will go through May 25, 2022. If the pilots vote to approve the strike and the National Mediation Board release both the airline and union from mediation, it could result in cancellations and disruptions after a 30-day cool-off period.


“Alaska pilots are not looking to strike. We are looking for improvements to our contract in line with the market but that will also allow our company to grow and remain successful and competitive,” Capt. Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska Airlines ALPA master executive council, told FlyerTalk in a statement from the ALPA. “However, we are willing to take any lawful steps necessary, including a legal strike, to achieve the contract every Alaska pilot has earned.”


Alaska Airlines has not publicly commented on the strikes or informational pickets held by the pilots.


Spirit Flight Attendants Picket Philadelphia Over Network Concerns

The Seattle-based carrier isn’t the only one dealing with employee concerns. CBS Philadelphia reports Spirit Airlines flight attendants picketed at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on Friday, May 7, to bring attention to network issues inside the airline.


A network meltdown in 2021 showcased the carrier’s trouble with their point-to-point schedule, leaving both flyers and workers stuck away from home. The picketing flight attendants say this is a recurring problem for the low-cost carrier and want more accountability for their operations going into the summer. Workers unionized by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA say the airline doesn’t provide hotel rooms for staff during cancellations, leaving some workers to sleep on airport floors.


“We’re there facing the brunt of their [flyer] frustrations,” Don Reno Integlia, speaking on behalf of the Spirit workers organized under the AFA-CWA, told CBS Philadelphia. “And we’re frustrated too.”


In a statement to CBS Philadelphia, Spirit said they were “committed to finding ways to better support our Team Members,” and “are committed to making the necessary investments to build a stronger and more resilient airline for both our Team Members and Guests.” Their statement comes days after rejecting a JetBlue takeover offer to continue their plans to merge with fellow ultra-low-cost-carrier Frontier Airlines.


Feature image courtesy: Manny Becerra on Unsplash

Source: frugal travel guy

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