Southwest reaches agreements with pilots and mechanics
Southwest Airlines has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association (SWAPA) and had a previous tentative agreement with the Southwest Airlines Maintenance Employees, represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), ratified.
The airline and SWAPA deal is a five-year agreement lasting until 31 August 2011, as the current Southwest Pilot contract became amendable on 31 August 2006 since when the two parties have been in contract negotiations.
The company says it is pleased with this tentative agreement that "delivers raises and increased retirement benefits for Southwest pilots". The tentative agreement is still subject to finalising language and approval by the SWAPA Board of Directors. If that Board approves the tentative agreement, it will be presented to all members of SWAPA for review and a ratification vote.
The Southwest Airlines Maintenance Employees voted to ratify the tentative, four-year agreement both parties reached on its behalf by AMFA in early December 2008. The new contract is active until 16 August 2012. The official Collective Bargaining Agreement will be signed in Dallas on Tuesday 3 February 2009.
"I commend the negotiations teams for delivering contracts that benefits our employees and also positions Southwest Airlines for continued financial strength," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's chairman, president, and CEO. "In light of these challenging economic times, the teams delivered a cost neutral contract that protects jobs and preserves our unique and proud culture."
The maintenance employees' new contract delivers raises in exchange for work rule improvements and scheduling flexibility along with productivity and gained efficiencies. It also offers Southwest's mechanics stronger job security and protection, says the airline.