The flight attendants union representing Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have met “to establish the stance of the Flight Attendant Union regarding this potential amalgamation.” In other words, hold your horses, please.
Union representatives from Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines have met with their legal, collective bargaining, government affairs, communications, and financial analysis specialists. Their goal was to comprehensively examine the merger proposal, union policies safeguarding Flight Attendants, and a legal evaluation of the proposed merger process itself. A dialogue ensued to help establish the Union’s potential support or opposition to Alaska’s proposed acquisition of Hawaiian.
The flight attendants say that they are unified for their purpose.
Together, they passed a resolution articulating clear demands to the airlines’ management and delineating prerequisites for the Union’s support of the upcoming merger.
These include several provisions crucial to flight attendants, such as assurances of no furloughs, the maintenance of base assignments for all flight members, a safeguarding agreement preserving pre-existing flight operations, expedited joint contract negotiations yielding benefits for all flight attendants, and active AFA union involvement in safety and service modifications.
The Alaska and Hawaiian Flight Attendants’ Union has set forth a timeline.
They scheduled a well-timed follow-up meeting on March 25 to assess progress and a subsequent meeting on April 26 to evaluate management’s action or inaction. Together, these will help inform the union towards determining their stance on the proposed merger.
It’s interesting to note that in the JetBlue/Spirit merger, the flight attendants’ approval was given without consternation. The JetBlue union said it clearly supported the carrier’s proposed acquisition of budget carrier Spirit Airlines.
The Alaska/Hawaiian Union emphasized the need for patience and assured members that updates and engagement opportunities would be forthcoming in the upcoming merger progress.
What the two companies’ flight attendants hope to achieve.
At the core of their goals is an “industry-leading” contract for crew members at Alaska Airlines, whose negotiations continue to be stuck at the very same moment that the airline is trying to buy Hawaiian Airlines. Alaska flight attendants have undertaken a strike vote. The airline has offered a 15% pay hike, which the union finds unacceptable.
At this juncture, the union wants a pledge from both Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines to address relevant merger concerns, including no furlough and no displacement protection. Additionally, the union representing both companies’ employees wants to find ways to preserve the most important elements of both current contracts when the two come together under the Alaska Airlines umbrella.
The union’s postponement in endorsing the merger is seen as a way to press Alaska toward a contract agreement of their liking. In the interim, strike vote ballots went to 6,800 Alaska flight attendants, with the vote coming to a close on February 13, 2024, well ahead of the next union meeting.