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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Strike Action in Stalled Contract Talks

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Strike Action in Stalled Contract Talks

a blue airplane on the tarmac

Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines have voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike action in a historic ballot that was run just months after their union reached a tentative labor deal with the Dallas-based carrier.

Southwest has around 19,000 flight attendants, and just over 17,000 crew members took part in the strike authorization ballot. Of those, 98% voted in favor of approving strike action if mediated negotiations fail to break a deadlock between the union and the airline.

The TWU 556 union decided to hold the strike authorization vote after a large majority of its members rejected the tentative agreement that union officials had hashed out in November 2023.

That vote was, however, marred in controversy after it emerged that the voting system was potentially vulnerable to fraud.

But rather than rerunning the vote, the union went back to airline managers and asked them to improve upon their offer. Southwest rebuffed the request, explaining that formal negotiations will have to be reopened.

Those negotiations will only take place with the assistance of federal mediators, but the National Mediation Board hasn’t yet been able to set a date for when the next talks will take place.

In the meantime, the union says it is going to start ramping up strike preparations.

The rejected tentative agreement would have given flight attendants a 36% rise in hourly pay rates over the course of the five-year contract, but crew members say that pilots at the carrier secured a far better deal in a recently ratified contract.

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