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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Will Earn a Bonus of Up to $20,000 if They Accept New Contract

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Will Earn a Bonus of Up to $20,000 if They Accept New Contract

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Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines could earn a one-off bonus of up to $20,000 each, if they vote to accept a new contract that was tentatively agreed between their union and the Dallas-based carrier last week.

The bonus is designed to cover some of the loss of earnings incurred from the fact that their contract became amendable all the way back in 2018, and their wages have increased in the last six years while the new contract was negotiated.

According to leaked documents, the ratification or retroactive bonus, as it is being referred to, will be calculated using six periods between November 2019 and March 2024. The bonus will be paid in two instalments, with the majority paid in the first instalment around May 20, 2024.

The second instalment would then be paid around August 20, 2024, and will be based on how much flight attendants have actually done during the time final period between January 1 and March 31, 2024.

The TWU 556 union, which represents Southwest’s flight attendants, has described the tentative agreement as an ‘industry leading’ contract because the airline’s most senior crew members could earn $4 more per hour than their peers at Delta – which currently holds the title of having an industry leading contract for flight attendants.

Confusingly, Southwest’s inflight crew members are paid under a ‘Trips for Pay’ system rather than an earning an hourly rate like at other airlines so a direct comparison is difficult

The union has, however, attempted to convert its pay structure into an block hourly rate, claiming that senior flight attendants could earn as much as $90.13 per hour under the tentative agreement.

In contrast, veteran crew members at Delta earn $76 per hour, while their counterparts at American Airlines and United lag behind with a top hourly rate of just $68.25 and $67.11 respectively.

Southwest’s flight attendant rejected a tentative agreement reached last October but they’ll again have their say on this latest deal when a new ballot opens on April 10. We should know whether crew members have accepted the deal shortly after voting ends on April 24.

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