In a move that mimics what Delta Air Lines offered its flight attendants last year, regional feeder SkyWest will now pay its flight attendants for boarding time. On May Day, this marks another victory for non-unionized workers.
Non-Unionized Flight Attendants On SkyWest Now Earn Boarding Pay
SkyWest operates regional jets on behalf of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, focusing on service west of the Mississippi. Anytime you step on a regional jet for one of those four carriers, there is a decent chance you are actually on a SkyWest plane.
In a nod to the fact that flight attendants are indeed working during boarding, Aero Crew News reports that SkyWest flight attendants will now be paid for boarding time up to $23.66 per hour.
Notably, this comes before unions have negotiated any boarding pay on unionized airlines for flight attendants. Contract negotiations are complex and I do suspect that we will see all US airlines eventually offer boarding pay. That said, it is noteworthy that in the current dynamic, it is the non-unionized workers who are winning workplace concessions.
Meanwhile, Sara Nelson, president of the powerful AFA-CWA flight attendants union, just jetted back in business class from a labor conference in Geneva and is busy today posting Marxist rhetoric about the problem of “capital’s chokehold” on labor.
Long week at the @ilo. Exhausted, but thrilled we achieved a strong foundation on Int’l labor standards for aviation workers. ✊ Tell you about it tonight, @jamieson!
Cheers to @itfaviation, and the solidarity of workers around the world. Major plus to fly home with @afa_cwa! pic.twitter.com/bI516SN6T9
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) April 29, 2023
Speaking of Nelson, this tweet did not age well:
Yes. We’ve negotiated boarding pay over the yrs & our contracts have controls on when boarding can start, but this was gutted during the bankruptcies. The only real way to get this done is to organize Delta & SkyWest Flight Attendants (we are) & make this an industry-wide demand.
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) February 12, 2022
Do not confuse this for vitriol against Ms. Nelson or her organization. I believe her efforts are sincere and on this May Day, I support the right of workers to strike for redress of grievances. There is power in collective action and unions still have the potential to make lives better for those whom they represent. But bloated bureaucracy in which workers see union dues deducted while non-unionized workers earn better wages and benefits does call into question the model. Blaming the actions of Delta and SkyWest on fear (versus common sense or good business) is a stretch. The problem is not unions, but corrupt or ineffective unions.
SkyWest will now pay its flight attendants for boarding time. Not coincidentally, this comes as flight attendants at SkyWest face intense pressure from union organizers to unionize. However, it is quite noteworthy that the only flight attendants in the USA who are paid for boarding times are the non-unionized ones. In a tight labor market, some flight attendants are realizing that their quality of life is made better, not worse, by avoiding unionization.
(H/T: One Mile At A Time)