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Alaska Airlines: Some cabin crew must stay with friends or live in their car

Alaska Airlines: Some cabin crew must stay with friends or live in their car

Alaska Airlines cabin crew fight for better working conditions. A recent survey shows how unstable employee employment is.

There is a global shortage of cockpit personnel, and while demand is increasing at the same time, the situation is becoming increasingly serious. Major manufacturers Airbus and Boeing as well as the umbrella aviation organization Iata forecast the need for between 500,000 and 600,000 new pilots in the next 20 years. The shortage in salaries has caused a sharp rise in the United States. Pilots can earn up to $500,000 per year.

If developments continue like this, cabin crew may also become a rare commodity. However, it is not because there are too few people interested in the job, but because the wages are so bad that employees cannot live on their salaries. At Alaska Airlines, 30 percent of cabin workers are considering leaving their jobs for financial reasons.

Nine percent were temporarily homeless

This is the result of a survey of Alaska Airlines flight attendants. The study was conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants AFA-CWA CommissionedTo increase pressure on airline management. The new cabin crew collective agreement is still pending. Thousands of flight attendants were surveyed.

The housing issue shows how serious the situation is. Nine percent said their low wages forced them to live in their car, a homeless shelter or on the couch of friends and family. Ten percent said they were still living with their parents for financial reasons.

Not $500 a month

Nearly 43 percent say they live in a shared apartment. Anyone with their own apartment would have to travel long distances to do so. Nearly 30% of them live more than 160 kilometers from their airport, because rents in urban areas are not affordable for everyone. 37 percent of flight attendants said they relied on government support during their time with the airline.

Net salary is not high. 59 percent of participants said they regularly had less than $500 per month. There is also a shortage of funds allocated for Social Security. Nearly two-thirds of all participants had no emergency savings. As a result, employees regularly make withdrawals from their checking accounts.

Negotiations must continue

“While Alaska Airlines executives reward themselves with millions in bonuses, flight attendants in the field have to choose between buying groceries and paying their bills,” AFA President Jeffrey Peterson chided after the survey results were released.

Representatives from Etihad and Alaska Airlines will meet in the coming months to continue contract negotiations.