Portland/ Community & Society
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Published on February 14, 2024
Over 300 Airline Workers Picket at Portland International for Better Pay and ConditionsSource: Unsplash/ Joe Yates

As tensions rise in the aviation industry, over 300 flight attendants, alongside pilots and other airline workers, took to the pavement outside Portland International Airport yesterday to voice their demands for better pay and working conditions. The picketers at PDX, part of a coordinated action at 30 airports nationwide, stemmed from frustrations over airline pay structures that do not compensate workers for time spent during boarding, deplaning, or layovers between consecutive flights, according to Axios.

A significant push from the workers shed light on the industry's reluctance to pay airline staff until aircraft doors are closed, a practice that leaves them financially unrewarded for crucial parts of their shift, this discontent has been smoldering, since Delta Air Lines started paying attendants during boarding at half the usual rate just last year, meanwhile, union representatives argue that they're "forced to work long days, with little rest, increased responsibility and fuller planes with no increase to compensation," as Brice McGee told Axios reflecting particularly on the period following the pandemic.

Alaska Airlines flight attendants voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, highlighting a potential walkout that would be their first in over three decades, with a staggering 99% in favor as reported by KOIN. The move comes while discussions are ongoing between the airline and workers, with Alaska Airlines affirming they're in active negotiations and have a legacy of successful dialogues with union partners according to their own statement.

Additionally, flight attendants from diverse airlines like American, Air Wisconsin, United and Southwest joined the picket lines voicing solidarity and a unified front for improved wages and terms of employment, members of the Association of Flight Attendants adding pressure at more than 30 airports globally, Alaska Airlines said in no uncertain terms that none of the picketing workers were on the schedule for Tuesday and do not anticipate delays due to the protests nonetheless, the authorization of a strike by Alaska flight attendants looms, signaling possible future disruptions at not only PDX but airports across the air travel network as reported by KATU.