DALLAS — Southwest Airlines (WN) flight attendants have rejected a new contract that has been reached between the union and the airline. Most of the airline’s cabin crew rejected the new deal offered, with only 36% of the carrier’s flight attendants voting in favor of the contract. The proposed contract included a 20% pay raise and a further 3% pay raise each year.
President of WN’s Flight Attendants Union, Lyn Montgomery, said that the union was disappointed and would not rest until it reached an acceptable agreement for its members. Montgomery said, “We will go back to the table to achieve the collective bargaining agreement that meets the needs of the hardest-working flight attendants in the industry.”
Southwest flight attendants are currently employed under a contract enacted in 2014 and was is due to be amended in 2018. Consequently, the company’s cabin crew have not seen pay increases for several years. Montgomery said that the union has been fighting for five years for pay raises that the company has not provided. Existing contracts have not been revised, making them nearly ten years old.
In response to the decision, the airline expressed their disappointed that its flight attendants have rejected the offer and will wait to hear from the union and the National Mediation Board. Southwest added, “We are disappointed the industry-leading agreement reached between the negotiating committees was not ratified.”
WN Flights Unaffected
Management at WN has appealed to staff not to disrupt travel over the holidays. The airline’s flight attendants’ union has said the impasse will not impact flights over the peak season. Flight attendants will continue to be employed under existing contracts.
Adam Carlisle, Vice President of Labour Relations at Southwest, commented, “Our flight attendants will continue to be covered under their current contract, and we’ll await the next steps from the National Mediation Board and TWU 556.”
Southwest is the largest US-based low-cost carrier and operates flights to over 121 destinations across North America. The airline employs over 66,000 staff and operates around 4,000 daily flights during peak season.
Featured image: Southwest Airlines N463WN Boeing 737-7H4. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways