Southwest’s flight attendants ratify 737-800 agreement

Southwest Airlines has announced that its flight attendants, represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, has ratified a tentative agreement reached with the company in September to add the Boeing 737-800 to the current collective bargaining agreement.

With this positive vote, the flight attendants’ current contract will also be extended by one year, becoming amendable on 31 May 2013, and will include the potential for wage rate increases based on the company’s financial performance. TWU 556 represents more than 9,700 flight attendants.

"Since we began evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into our fleet, the TWU negotiating committee and Leadership Team quickly grasped the potential benefits along with the added operational complexities associated with this decision," explained Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines’ executive vice-president and chief operating officer. "This was an important step in our due diligence process, and we are pleased that our hard working flight attendants recognise the long-term benefits of adding this new aircraft to our fleet."

The decision to add the -800 still isn’t final. The carrier is still waiting for a ratification vote from its pilots’ union, SWAPA, and is continuing to evaluate network and configuration options. Any details regarding firm orders with Boeing, timing, and quantity of deliveries are still to be determined. If the Company pursues the -800, a joint committee would meet to work on the logistical details related to scheduling and bidding procedures that adding a fourth flight attendant will require.

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