Alaska Airlines pilots protest amid contract dispute

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ANCHORAGE, (KTUU) - Alaska Airlines pilots stepped out of the cockpit on Monday and onto the curb outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

They are protesting contract negotiations with the company amid its merger with Virgin America.

"We think we should have a contract that matches what our peers have through the industry. Currently the Alaska pilots have a contract far below our industry counterparts and for Virgin America pilots it's even worse," says Capt. David Campbell, with the ALPA.

Capt. Campbell says the pilots want to negotiate on three areas: pay, retirement in the form of 401k contributions, and job protection.

The sides already failed to come to an agreement in mediation.

An Alaska Airlines company spokeswoman issued this statement.

"While we are disappointed that we were not able to reach a negotiated agreement on a new contract for the combined pilot group, we hope for a resolution through arbitration that will result in our pilots receiving a significant wage rate increase while maintaining Alaska Airlines ability to successfully grow and compete by having a low-cost structure that enables low fares," Marianne Lindsey, spokesperson, Alaska Airlines.

The sides are set to meet with an arbitration panel next week.

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