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Alaska Pilots Agreement with the Company will avoid COVID-19 Furloughs!

In a great deal, the Alaska Airlines pilots under its pilot union (ALPA) have negotiated an agreement which means that no pilot furloughs will take place. The airline crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has long been a serious threat to the Alaska Airlines pilot jobs. It has and still is a huge threat to the jobs of pilots at every other airline on the globe.

The agreement between the company and its ALPA pilots’ union came as a result of strong pilot participation in miscellaneous voluntary programs.

Alaska and Virgin America merged in April 2016. Alaska/YouTube.

Alaska Airlines is known as a great company to work for among those of us who are full-time professionals in the airline industry. The airline is known for its great management and willingness to work with pilots and other employee groups.

alaska pilots agreement no furloughs, alaska employees
Alaska Airlines pilot with flight attendants. Alaska Airlines.

What is ALPA?

ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) was founded in 1931. It is the world’s largest pilot union. The union represents more than 63,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada.

The agreement is a win-win situation for pilots and company

With that, the threat of pilot furloughs at Alaska Airlines is over, for now. How long the agreement will mitigate furloughs is unknown. The long-term results of the coronavirus pandemic still carry a lot of uncertainties for the airline industry.

The successful ALPA-negotiated programs will avoid involuntary furloughs and bring stability to Alaska pilots. At the same time, it allows the airline to remain flexible. Furthermore, the agreement allows Alaska pilots to be restaffed on short notice after the virus-situation improves.

What does the Alaska pilots’ agreement to no pilot furloughs consist of?

The Alaska Airlines pilot furlough mitigation agreements consist of a number of voluntary incentivized leave and early retirement programs.

B737 approach, Alaska Airlines
An Alaska Boeing 737 during approach. Alaska Airlines.

ALPA-comments on the Alaska Airlines agreement

The ALPA pilot leaders for the airline, the Alaska Master Executive Council (MEC) announced the agreement.

Captain Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska MEC said,

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on our industry and our pilots. Protecting the careers of Alaska Airlines pilots is our primary goal. Our experienced team of pilot volunteers worked diligently over the last two months to establish programs for those pilots who could step away from flying on a temporary or permanent basis while preserving the employment of those who need or want to continue flying.”

Captain McQuillen continued,

“We’ve always maintained that there was a smarter way to address our company’s staffing issues than furloughing pilots. Ultimately, our senior management agreed with our point of view and worked with us on implementing these programs. Today’s success is a shining example of what unionism is all about—a collective solution that protects the quality of life for the entire Alaska pilot group.”

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