Southwest reaches contract agreement with customer service agents

Southwest Airlines said it reached a tentative contract agreement with the union representing its customer service agents and representatives.

The 6,000 workers, represented by the International Association of Machinists, will vote on ratifying the agreement this fall.

“I applaud the efforts of both parties in reaching a tentative agreement that incorporates rewards and incentives for our hard-working customer service agents and customer representatives, while remaining mindful of Southwest’s low-cost structure and long-term success,” Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven said in a statement.

The four-year contract includes 1.5 percent pay raises upon signing and over the first three years. In the last year of the contract, workers would receive a 2 percent raise. The deal also features signing bonuses and a perfect-attendance bonus of $1,000.

“After more than two years of negotiations, with many distractions and ups and downs, your negotiating committee has reached a tentative agreement with the company. Without your solidarity and support, this would not have been possible,” said David Supplee, president of IAM District 142.

This summer, the union asked federal mediators to intervene in the contract discussions as the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement after two years.

Dallas-based Southwest is in negotiations with its pilots, flight attendants, ramp workers, materials specialists, mechanics and facilities maintenance technicians.

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