Monday, October 31, 2016

Southwest flight attendants ratify contract

A majority of Southwest Airlines Co.’s 14,000-plus flight attendants who cast a ballot approved a new labor agreement on Monday after a close vote on the controversial deal.

The flight attendants of Dallas-based Southwest, represented by the Transport Workers Union Local 556, voted to ratify the tentative agreement that both parties reached in September 2016, according to news releases from the union and the airline.

The new contract includes a ratification bonus and annual wage rate increases over the life of the contract.

The union reported that 53.9 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of the contract agreement, and 89.2 percent of eligible Southwest flight attendants voted.

“We are pleased to report that a majority of our members have voted to accept the industry-leading tentative agreement reached with Southwest Airlines management,” Audrey Stone, TWU Local 556 president and lead negotiator, said in a statement issued after the vote count.

As a result of the vote, the wage increases and work rule changes secured in the agreement will go into effect Nov. 1, including 12.45 percent total wage increases compounded over the next two years and a 15.9 percent bonus.

The vote to ratify the agreement comes 15 months after a failed contract vote by the same group, which overwhelmingly rejected the earlier contract proposal by 87 percent in July 2015, setting up this second tentative agreement.

“I am thrilled that our flight attendant team voted to ratify this agreement,” said Southwest management representative Sonya Lacore, vice president of cabin services. “Through this new contract, we now have the opportunity to provide further recognition for the many contributions that our flight attendants make to the success of Southwest Airlines.”

Next up on the airline's labor front, Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association will finish voting on their second attempt at ratifying a tentative agreement on Nov. 7.

A spokesman for the pilots association told the Dallas Business Journal today that the group does not have a comment on the flight attendant vote, and does not believe the flight attendants' vote result will affect how individual pilots will vote on their own contract.

(Bill Hethcock - Dallas Business Journal)

No comments: