If the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the airline can reach a tentative agreement, then flight attendants at Southwest Airlines will receive a 36% pay increase at the end of their five-year contract.
Flight attendants were not given specifics of the deal they were offered until Wednesday, despite reports last week that a tentative agreement had been reached.
Flight attendants will receive a 20% pay increase on January 1, 2024, and 3% pay increases in 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028 if the agreement is approved by a ballot.
By the end of the contract, a veteran flight attendant on the top pay rate with at least 13 years of seniority will make up to $85.50 instead of $63.30. As soon as the contract begins, newly hired flight attendants will earn over $30 per hour, up from just $25.14 per hour before.
The Southwest flight attendant union claims that when combined with retro ratification bonus pay, the entire agreement amounts to a 36% pay increase.
Along with increasing hourly pay rates, Southwest has also promised to pay a premium for irregular operations, such as the airline’s Christmas meltdown last year, and will also increase diem payments.
Additionally, the union was able to secure a clause that protects flight attendants from penalties should they “no show” during irregular operations. This was a significant concern for the crew members of the Dallas-based carrier.
Other contentious issues have been resolved, such as reorganizing Southwest’s flight attendant reserve system to substitute 12-hour reserve shifts for a 24-hour callout window that will occur three times in a row.
Last week, Southwest vice president of Labor Relations, Adam Carlisle, commented: “Southwest’s Flight Attendants uphold our commitments to Safety and Hospitality by providing Customers with a safe journey and making them feel welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.”
“I’m thankful for the work from both negotiating committees throughout this process and the guidance from our National Mediation Board federal mediators. We are all glad our Flight Attendants will soon have an opportunity to vote on this agreement,” Carlisle continued.