Southwest Airlines Reaches Tentative Agreement With Flight Attendants, Previews 2016 Extended Schedule
Southwest Airlines has just reached a Tentative Agreement between the company and its flight attendants, Southwest has announced. Moreover, should the said new agreement be approved, it is expected to run until May 2019.
As Southwest Airlines Vice President of Cabin Services Mike Hafner says, “We have the finest Flight Attendants in the industry. Each day and on every flight, our Flight Attendants bring Southwest’s Purpose to life for our Customers—connecting them to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
While no terms of the new Tentative Agreement has been released, Southwest Airlines has said that it includes increases in wage, bonus opportunities as well as work-rule adjustments. Moreover, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven says, “I applaud the efforts of everyone who worked so hard to craft an agreement that rewards our Flight Attendants for their excellence.” Furthermore, he adds, “This tentative agreement not only provides additional money, it also supports Southwest’s low-cost structure and positions the Company to be competitive in the years to come.”
Flight attendants for Southwestern Airlines are actually represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) 556. In a statement following the Tentative Agreement, TWU Local 556 President and Lead Negotiator Audrey Stone says, “I am excited that after two years of negotiations, we have an agreement to present to the best Flight Attendants in the industry that recognizes their dedication to our Customers and to our Company. This CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) assures that the Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants continue to be the highest paid in the industry through 2019. It maintains and improves upon an industry-leading Contract, while ensuring that Southwest Airlines’ remains prosperous in the future.”
Working with workers unions is actually nothing new for Southwest Airlines. According to the airline, as much as 83% of its workforce is actually unionized. In fact, they continuously deal with around 12 workers unions who represent Southwest employees in various positions including pilots, dispatchers, agents for ramp, operations, provisioning and freight, flight instructors, meteorologists, facilities maintenance technicians (new), appearance technicians, mechanics, inspectors, customer service agents, ground operations and customer representatives, material specialists, flight simulator technicians and more.
Meanwhile, their employee wage rates are said to be “Generous wages compared to industry peers.” Moreover, Southwest employees also take part in the company’s $2.4 billion ProfitSharing program as well as enjoy benefits such as outstanding vacation and holiday time, non-revenue flight privileges and “opportunities to voluntarily earn even more with higher premiums.”
At the same time, Southwest Airlines is also proud to announce its upcoming January 6 to March 8, 2016 schedule. In addition, it also comes with a minimum special price of $49 one way for the following routes:
Meanwhile, the airline will also be doing once daily flights for the following routes: Phoenix-Ft. Lauderdale and Grand Rapids-Tampa Bay. In addition, Southwest says they will also be offering new season service on Saturdays as they explain, “The carrier will offer new daily seasonal service between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers and Nashville, as well as new Saturday-only seasonal service between RSW and four cities: Buffalo, Dallas Love Field, Providence, and Washington (Reagan National). Daily seasonal nonstop service between Grand Rapids and Fort Myers also returns with this schedule release.” Moreover, the airline adds, “Southwest is offering seasonal Saturday-only nonstop service connecting Orlando with Omaha, Detroit and Orlando, as well as Ft. Lauderdale with Minneapolis/St. Paul.”