Southwest Airlines and pilots’ union reach preliminary labor deal after years of contentious talks
After more than three years of contentious negotiations, Southwest Airlines and its pilots’ union have agreed to a tentative labor deal that includes salary increases, improved retirement benefits, and a new profit-sharing plan.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) said in a statement that the “tentative agreement represents a huge step forward for Southwest pilots, recognizing the professional and financial value they bring to the Legendary Southwest Experience.”
The agreement includes 12.3 percent in base pay rate increases over the life of the contract and a 15 percent increase in retirement contributions. It also includes a new pilot profit sharing plan that will be tied to the company’s financial performance.
The deal also provides improved scheduling flexibility, more vacation and holiday options, and stronger job security for all Southwest Airlines pilots.
The pact still needs to be ratified by the union’s members before it becomes official, but the leaders of both sides expressed relief that the deal was reached.
“On behalf of the SWAPA Negotiating Committee, we are incredibly proud of the hard work, dedication and commitment of our 11,600 pilots that led us to a Tentative Agreement,” said Taylor Garland, SWAPA President and lead negotiator for the group. “We believe these collective efforts have created a platform that will improve job security, career progression, and financial rewards for our pilots now and in the future.”