On June 22, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) reached a tentative agreement for a contract extension with Alaska Airlines which would cover approximately 5,300 Alaska Airlines workers who work in ramp, stores, clerical, office and passenger service in the airline’s six hubs at Anchorage, Alaska; SeaTac, Washington; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and Los Angeles, California.

The tentative agreement extends the current contract two more years beyond the slated 2024 expiration, making the new proposed expiration date September 27, 2026. The proposal would raise base wages at a rate between 8.9 percent and 17.4 percent on August 10. This amounts to an approximately $1 to $6 higher hourly rate depending on the job classification. Miniscule 2.5 percent raises would be issued every year for the next three years starting August 10, 2023.

N641VA, an Airbus A320, of Alaska Airlines taking off from Mccarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. [Photo by Noah Wulf / CC BY 4.0]

In 2024 and 2025, the tentative agreement calls for an “industry review” which will give workers the 2.5 percent raise or the percentage required to match the top of the scale as the No. 4 airline in the industry, whichever is greater. This pathetic “concession” is made with awareness of the insubstantial raises it would generate in either case, pay increases far below the current 8.6 percent inflation rate that would amount to a huge effective cut in wages.

Further, inflation rates in the high cost cities that Alaska Airlines uses as its hubs stand at around 10.5 percent. These paltry raises do not nearly keep up with the cost of living. Even the maximum raise of 17.4 percent in August 2022 would not make up for years of stagnated wages.

Additional token raises listed in the highlights called “longevity increases” will do little to change the picture. They will increase workers’ hourly wages by a mere 5 cents after 6 years, 10 cents after 7 years, 15 cents after 8 years, 20 cents after 9 years, 25 cents after 10 years, 30 cents after 11 years, and 35 cents for every year after that.