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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Southwest Airlines flight attendants reach new deal after rejecting contract in December

Southwest Airlines flight attendant Cindy Ivy (left) alongside other attendants take part in picketing demanding better pay and working conditions in contract negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, at Dallas Love Field.    (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)
By Alexandra Skores The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News

Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants reached a tentative agreement with the Dallas-based air carrier, the second bid after members rejected a deal in December.

On Wednesday, the airline announced it reached a deal with Transport Workers Union Local 556, representing nearly 20,000 flight attendants. The union will tell members more beginning Monday and voting will commence in a few weeks.

Details of the deal will be released to members in the coming days.

“The TWU Local 556 Executive Board approved a proposed tentative agreement with Southwest Airlines,” said Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556 in an emailed statement. “…Our membership is the ultimate authority, and they will decide if this agreement becomes our new collective bargaining agreement with Southwest Airlines.”

Flight attendants at major U.S. airlines have been without a contract for years now, including those at American Airlines, while all major U.S. airlines’ pilots have received new deals. In February, three major unions that represent flight attendants held a day of informational picketing at multiple airports. To start the year, flight attendants at Southwest had voted in favor of authorizing a strike following the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association achieving a new deal, which the flight attendants union said gave perks their workgroup was denied.

That strike vote came after October when the flight attendants union, which is in mediation with Southwest, had a tentative agreement on the table that would have boosted pay 20% in 2024. However, flight attendants voted to reject the contract in December.

The union’s executive board also rejected a contract proposal from the company in June.

“Southwest’s flight attendants support the safety and comfort of our customers while providing legendary Southwest hospitality,” said Adam Carlisle, vice president of labor relations at Southwest in a release. “I am glad they will have the opportunity to vote on this new agreement.”

Since Oct. 2022, 9 Southwest workgroups have ratified new agreements. In February, Southwest reached a contract with its ramp, operations, provisioning and freight agents that’ll give workers an average pay increase of over 18%.