Industrial relations at Southwest represent something of a mixed picture as pilots approve a pay deal, but flight attendants vote in favour of a walkout.
The U.S low cost carrier announced that its flight deck teams, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), overwhelmingly approved a new collective bargaining agreement.
The five-year agreement covers nearly 11,000 pilots, and provides an immediate 29% pay increase as well as modified scheduling practices as well as paid maternity and parental leave, with an opportunity for an additional extended bonding leave.
However, the deal, which was offered to pilots, but not to flight attendants, has has apparently irked cabin crew in the Transport Worker’s of America Union (TWU556) , who have overwhelmingly voted to authorise a strike.
Some 98% of TWU556 members voted in favour of the strike, which will be the first time flight attendants have voted for industrial action. However, a walkout is far from certain at this stage as the vote means that the airline and the union must enter a period of federal mediation. Only if no deal can be agreed will the union them be able to set a date for the action.
“98% YES sends a strong message of solidarity. We will do whatever it takes to get a Contract that recognizes our contributions to the success of our company,” the union wrote on X
In a statement, the airline said: “Southwest remains in negotiations with two union-represented workgroups and is committed to reaching agreements that reward those Employees for their Southwest contributions”.