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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Resoundingly Reject Tentative Contract With Only 36% of Crew Members Voting in Favor

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Resoundingly Reject Tentative Contract With Only 36% of Crew Members Voting in Favor

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Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines have resoundingly rejected a new tentative contract, which has been years in the making, after only 36% of crew members voted in favor of the deal following a nearly four-week ballot.

Southwest Airlines and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) announced that they had reached a tentative agreement at the end of October after thrashing out a deal in Chicago, marking the culmination of years of stalled negotiations.

Under the terms of the tentative contract, Southwest’s 19,000 flight attendants were set to receive an initial 20% pay rise, followed by a 3% pay rise for the following four years.

A veteran flight attendant with at least 13 years of seniority would have gone from earning $63.30 at present to earning as much as $85.50 per hour by the end of the five-year contract.

New-hire flight attendants would have seen their hourly pay rate increase from $25.14 to more than $30 per hour as soon as the contract kicks in.

On a turnout of 95% of eligible flight attendants, only 6,635 voted in favor of the tentative contract, against 11,761 who voted against the deal.

“We’ve heard you; we’ve heard that we must stand united, even further, even stronger, to deliver the results that are required to deliver the results that are required by TWU Local 556 members,” commented Lyn Montgomery, president of the Southwest flight attendants union.

“It will take all of us to gain the deal that we deserve,” Montgomery continued before warning that there would be progress until the New Year.

Southwest flight attendants had been using federal mediators to aid in their negotiations with the airline, but the National Mediation Board has already told the union that it currently doesn’t have any available dates for further talks.

Federal mediators have their work cut out at the moment, with flight attendants at American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines all using mediation to help negotiate new contracts with their employers.

The NMB recently rejected a bid at the AA flight attendants union to be released from mediation in order to go on strike. Further mediation is now scheduled to occur before the Holidays in Tampa, Florida.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southwest told us: “We are disappointed the industry-leading agreement reached between the negotiating committees was not ratified.”

“Our Flight Attendants will continue to be covered under their current contract and we’ll await next steps from the National Mediation Board and TWU 556,” the statement continued.

View Comments (4)
    • Rather an extreme and bias comment! negotiators were “out of touch” but union members are “idiots”. In negotiations, the negotiators may have felt they hit a brick wall with management. Letting the members freely vote on a tentative agreement and them voting it down sends a message to management they are out of touch with their employees.

  • There was a lot of other things in the contract that made it unpalatable to members – it wasn’t JUST about the money aspect.

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