Tentative Agreement Reached Between Southwest and Flight Attendants

Photo by Ken Lund

Three years of steady negotiations between flight attendants and Southwest Airlines have ended as the two sides came to a tentative agreement. The Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, consisting of over 14,500 flight attendants, said they will not release the details of the agreement until the union’s executive board reviewed it, a necessary step before the agreement can be finalized.

Over a year ago over 87 percent of flight attendants voted against a previous tentative agreement. Southwest’s largest hub is at Chicago’s Midway Airport, and has 1,800 flight attendants housed in the Chicago area.

In the last few weeks Southwest has come to a tentative agreement with one of its labor unions three different times. All three agreements came after the departure of Randy Babbitt in late August. Babbitt was Southwest’s senior vice president of labor relations.

One reaction to Babbitt’s departure came from Southwest Airlines Pilots’Association President Jon Weaks, who said,

“We are glad to see his departure. His presence was a hindrance to negotiation progress.”