Southwest Airlines flight attendants reject a contract their union negotiated with the airline

Southwest Airlines flight attendants are rejecting a contract offer made by their union and the airline

From The Associated Press

December 8, 2023, 7:40 p.m

FILE - Southwest Airlines plane prepares to land at Midway International Airport on Feb. 12, 2023, in Chicago.  Southwest Airlines flight attendants have rejected a contract offer from airline negotiators and the union.  The Transport Workers Union Local 556 said Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, that the proposal was defeated 64% to 36%.  (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

FILE – Southwest Airlines plane prepares to land at Midway International Airport on Feb. 12, 2023, in Chicago. Southwest Airlines flight attendants have rejected a contract offer from airline negotiators and the union. The Transport Workers Union Local 556 said Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, that the proposal was defeated 64% to 36%. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines flight attendants have rejected a contract offer from airline negotiators and the union.

The Transport Workers Union Local 556 said Friday that the proposal was defeated 64% to 36%.

Lyn Montgomery, the local’s president, said the vote was the result of five years of negotiations in which flight crews received no raises.

“We will come back to the table to reach a collective bargaining agreement that meets the needs of the industry’s hardest-working flight attendants,” she said in a statement.

Montgomery previously said the offer would have given Southwest flight attendants industry-leading wages, 16% above non-union Delta Air Lines crews.

Dallas-based Southwest said: “We are disappointed that the industry-leading agreement between the negotiating committees has not been ratified.” The airline said it would wait to hear from the union and the National Mediation Board, which was involved in the negotiations to find out the next steps.

Southwest is also negotiating with pilots who have twice asked federal mediators for permission to begin a 30-day countdown to a strike but were denied both times.

Flight attendants at American Airlines and United Airlines, which are represented by different unions than Southwest’s, are also in talks about new contracts.

Airline employees said they had weathered the pandemic and earned higher wages after most airlines returned to profitability. Pilots at American, United and Delta have achieved pay increases of around 40% in five years.


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