Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines seal deal for 22% pay hikes next month

Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines have ratified a contract that includes pay raises totaling more than 33% over four years, as airline workers continue to benefit from the industry’s recovery since the pandemic.

The Transport Workers Union said Wednesday that members of Local 556 approved the contract by a margin of 81% to 19%. The union’s board rejected a lower offer last summer, and flight attendants voted against a second proposal in December.

Southwest has about 20,000 flight attendants. They will get raises of more than 22% on May 1 and annual increases of 3% in each of the following three years.

The union said the contract provides record gains for flight attendants and sets a standard for other flight attendants. Cabin crews at United Airlines and American Airlines, which are represented by other unions, are still negotiating contracts.

The union said the deal gives Southwest crews the shortest on-duty day and highest pay in the industry, compensation during disruptions like the Southwest meltdown in December 2022, and industry-first paid maternity and parental leave. Workers will also split $364 million in ratification bonuses, according to the union.

Dallas-based Southwest, the nation’s fourth-biggest airline, said the contract includes changes in scheduling and will help the airline’s operation.

Pilot unions at Delta, United, American and Southwest approved contracts last year that raised pay by more than one-third over several years. This week, Delta said its flight attendants and other nonunion workers will get 5% raises.

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