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Alaska Airlines reaches contract deal with some workers

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SEATTLE (AP) — A union has reached a deal with Alaska Airlines for a two-year contract extension that provides substantial raises for 5,300 gate agents, stores personnel and office staff, as well as for ramp workers who load cargo.

The Seattle Times reports the deal announced Wednesday does not cover a separate group of about 2,000 ramp workers, also represented by the International Association of Machinists, who work for the McGee Air Services subsidiary and handle baggage on passenger flights.

Richard Johnsen, the IAM general vice president responsible for airline workers, said in an interview the deal will make this group of Alaska Airlines employees “the highest-paid employees in all of those classifications for the entire airline industry.”

In a statement, Alaska’s chief operating officer, Constance von Muehlen called the deal “a meaningful investment in our Alaska Airlines airport customer service, stores, cargo, ground service and reservations agents.”

The Seattle-based airline is still embroiled in more consequential contract talks with its pilot union, the Air Line Pilots Association, representing about 3,000 pilots.

If the contract extension through 2026 is ratified by a vote of the IAM members at Alaska, they’ll get raises on Aug. 10 ranging from 8.9% to 17.4%, followed in the three subsequent years by raises of at least 2.5% — and a guarantee that the raise will at least match that at the fourth-largest U.S. airline.

Johnsen said the agreement means new hires will start at over $18 an hour, while the top-of-the-scale wage rises to $34 per hour.

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