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Southwest flight attendants would get 36% pay raises in new contract

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 aircraft is seen landing at dusk time at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Nicolas Economou | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines flight attendants would get 36% cumulative pay increases in a new five-year contract, according to details of the tentative agreement shared with crews Wednesday.

The flight attendants are the latest aviation labor group to win proposed pay hikes after fraught years-long negotiations for new labor details. Pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers argued they went years without raises after the Covid-19 pandemic derailed talks and had pressed companies for higher compensation and better work rules as travel returned.

The new labor deal includes a 20% raise in January at the deal’s signing and 3% after, plus retroactive raises going back to late 2019, according to a union message to flight attendants.

The deal is still subject to ratification by the union’s members. Flight attendants are scheduled to start voting on the tentative agreement mid-November.

If approved, Southwest will also increase pay for on-call flight attendants by 8% and provide overtime pay if they are called into work outside of their on-call window.

Pilots and flight attendants have repeatedly complained about unpredictable schedules and difficulties getting assignments during flight disruptions. It was particularly pronounced during Southwest’s meltdown during the end-year holidays in 2022.

Southwest declined to comment Wednesday. It is still negotiating with its pilots.

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