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Southwest Airlines pilots to vote on proposed contract

Southwest Airlines pilots picketed outside of Dallas Love Field in February. The pilots will be voting on a proposed contract next month.
Southwest Airlines pilots picketed outside of Dallas Love Field in February. The pilots will be voting on a proposed contract next month. Star-Telegram archives

Southwest Airlines pilots will vote on a new contract next month that includes retroactive pay and raises.

The pilots’ union board voted 21-2 to schedule a ratification vote on the proposal reached in August. The vote will be held Oct. 8 to Nov. 7, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association announced Thursday.

“The board believes this agreement contained sufficient value such that pilots should have the opportunity to vote for or against it based on their individual and family’s needs,” SWAPA President Jon Weaks said in a statement. SWAPA represents about 8,400 pilots who work at the Dallas-based carrier.

If approved, the new contract would last through Aug. 31, 2020, and provide an immediate 15 percent pay increase on Oct. 1, along with retroactive pay. It also has 3 percent annual raises and improvements to pilots’ retirement plans.

“’We value our pilots and the role they play in our success,” said Alan Kasher, Southwest’s vice president of flight operations. “The tentative agreement acknowledges their contributions, so I’m pleased that they will have an opportunity to vote on it.”

The pilots have been in contract negotiations with Southwest for four years and entered federal mediation in 2014. Last year, pilots overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract that included pay raises totaling 17.6 percent but created subsets for international and Boeing 737-MAX flying.

Last month, hundreds of Southwest pilots picketed at Dallas Love Field, saying they had no confidence in Southwest’s management. The proposed agreement was reached a week later, shortly after Southwest’s top labor relations executive, Randy Babbitt, retired.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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