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Southwest Airlines flight attendants approve new contract

Star-Telegram

Southwest Airlines flight attendants approved a new two-year contract that includes pay raises and bonuses.

The 14,500 flight attendants, who are represented by the Transport Workers Union Local 556, voted 53.86 percent in favor of ratifying the new contract.

“We are happy that we have a ratified contract that recognizes our flight attendants’ contributions to the continued success of Southwest Airlines,” said TWU Local 556 President Audrey Stone.

The new contract will go into effect on Nov. 1 and includes a 12.45 percent wage increase compounded over the next two years and a 15.9 percent bonus.

Sonya Lacore, Southwest vice president of cabin services, said she is thrilled with the contract vote results.

“I extend my appreciation for the patience and professionalism demonstrated by our flight attendants throughout the negotiation process,” Lacore said. Southwest flight attendants’ current contract became amendable in May 2013.

Last year, flight attendants resoundly rejected a proposed contract that would have lasted six years and included several modest wage increases and bonuses throughout the deal. With the newly ratified deal, flight attendants will be able to begin negotiations on a new contract in 2018.

The Dallas-based carrier’s pilots are also currently voting on a proposed contract. That ratification vote ends Nov. 7, and the pilots’ proposed deal also includes double-digit pay raises.

The new agreement will cost Southwest $350 million over 24 months, including the $106 million ratification bonus.

The new contract may cut down on labor turbulence at the airline after unions representing 38,000 workers in August called for CEO Gary Kelly to resign.

Shares of Southwest [ticker: LUV] rose 2 percent, closing up 87 cents at $40.05 on Monday.

This report contains material from Bloomberg News.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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