Alaska Airlines Mechanics Reject Contract

SEATTLE (AP) -- Alaska Airlines' 700 aircraft technicians have rejected a tentative four-year contract agreement, their union said Wednesday, but the carrier said talks will continue.

Results posted on the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association's Web site showed the proposal defeated by a vote of 325-180, or 64 percent to 35 percent. No voters abstained.

The union's Web site said the proposed deal included a base pay scale increase of about 10 percent and yearly pay scale increases of 1½ percent for the first, second and third years after signing.

It also included a new medical program that allowed retirees to convert unused sick leave into medical coverage, the statement said.

The contract proposal was hailed last month by company and union officials.

A statement from Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska Air Group Inc., the airline's parent company, said talks will continue.

''We will be heading back to the negotiating table and remain confident that we can reach an agreement which will receive the support of our aircraft technicians,'' Ayer said.

Louie Key, a regional union director, did not return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.

The AMFA, which represents Alaska Airlines aircraft technicians in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California and Arizona, started negotiating with the airline last fall.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the nation's ninth-largest carrier. With its sister airline, Horizon Air, it flies to more than 80 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.