An arbitrator has ruled that Alaska Airlines violated a union contract by overestimating cost savings when ramp work was outsourced in Seattle...

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An arbitrator has ruled that Alaska Airlines violated a union contract by overestimating cost savings when ramp work was outsourced in Seattle in 2005.

The West Coast carrier said in a statement it may appeal the ruling issued today in U.S. District Court. For now, though, labor manager and lawyer Herman Wacker says Alaska Airlines will focus on negotiations for a remedy.

In May 2005, Alaska Airlines outsourced ramp work done by the Machinists union to Menzies Aviation, a private company based in Britain. That work includes loading and unloading baggage and guiding planes into and out of airport gates.

If the company and union can’t agree on a resolution, the case goes back to the arbitrator. Either side can appeal the arbitrator’s findings in federal court.