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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Alaska Air to appeal $78 million judgment over pay for Virgin America flight attendants

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 15, 2019

 (Elaine Thompson / AP)
(Elaine Thompson / AP)
By Dominic Gates Seattle Times

Alaska Airlines has been ordered to pay $78 million in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of about 1,800 flight attendants who worked for Virgin America and sued that airline before it was acquired by Alaska in December 2016.

The lawsuit alleges Virgin violated multiple California and city of San Francisco labor and wage laws. A federal judge in California entered final judgment this month, Alaska disclosed Friday in its year-end filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Alaska said Friday it plans to appeal the ruling, challenging the application of local labor laws in the airline industry, where labor relations are typically governed by the federal Railway Labor Act.

The suit was filed in 2015 by three flight attendants, and was certified as a class action just a month before Alaska completed its acquisition.

It alleges that Virgin failed to pay its flight attendants overtime and minimum wages, and did not pay them for hours worked before, after, and between flights, and for time spent in training, on reserve, completing reports or taking mandatory drug tests. In addition, it alleges that Virgin did not allow flight attendants to take meal or rest breaks.

Alaska issued a statement saying that as an air carrier it is bound by Federal Aviation Regulations.

“These rules are prescribed by the FAA and supersede/preempt state law,” the statement said. “We are disappointed in the judgment in this case and plan to appeal the rulings.”

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