Seattle, Wash. — Flight attendants with Alaska Airlines have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike if negotiations with the carrier fail to produce a deal, announced the Association of Flight Attendants CWA on Tuesday.

According to the union, which represents Alaska flight attendants, 93.47% of members participated in the vote, with 99.48% voting to authorize a strike if airline management does not agree to “significant improvements.”

However, the strike authorization does not mean an immediate strike. It allows the union to request a release from the National Mediation Board, leading to a 30-day “cooling off” period before a strike deadline.

AFA Alaska President Jeffrey Peterson stated, “Our time is now! We’re out on the picket line demonstrating that we’re ready to do whatever it takes to get the contract we deserve.”

The union highlighted that Alaska flight attendants last went on strike in 1993, utilizing a CHAOS (Create Havoc Around Our System) strike strategy. This strategy involves intermittent strikes on flights without prior notice to management or passengers.

The union claims that the CHAOS strike in 1993 resulted in “dramatic reductions” in ticket bookings as passengers couldn’t determine whether their flights would be canceled until they arrived at the airport.

Negotiations for a new contract began after Alaska flight attendants’ previous contract became amendable in December 2022. The union filed for federal mediation in September 2023.

In response, Alaska Airlines stated, “We agree with our flight attendants that we need a new contract, which is why we’ve been working hard to get an agreement.” The airline emphasized its efforts in negotiations and expressed optimism in reaching a resolution.

The vote for strike authorization comes amidst picketing by flight attendants from various airlines outside of 30 airports worldwide, including at Portland International Airport.

Flight attendants from American, Air Wisconsin, and Southwest airlines also voted near-unanimously to approve strike authorizations, according to the Association of Flight Attendants CWA.

Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA International President, emphasized, “Flight Attendants are fighting corporate greed and demanding our jobs make it possible to live a good life.”