Posted on: 18 September 2015 by Mark Howells
After four days of review and discussion, the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) has announced that its 23-member board of directors has agreed to send a Tentative Agreement with Southwest Airlines out to its 8,000 members for a vote rather than endorsing or rejecting it themselves.
“Ultimately, the positives and negatives of any deal will affect the lives of our membership. We believe it should be up to the members and their families to decide for themselves if this agreement meets their expectations,” explained president of SWAPA, Captain Paul Jackson. “We have reiterated to Southwest Airlines for the past three years that our members require a contract that is commensurate with our peers at other major airlines with regard to retirement plans, work rules, and pay. Our members can view the company's offer and decide if it meets that criteria.”
The agreement runs until 1 April 2019 and provides pay rate increases over the next four years, which will put Southwest pilots in line with other major airlines. It also includes increases the company’s contribution towards retirement and improvements to work rules and flying schedules as well as company-desired changes to pilot subsets for international and future 737 MAX flying plus a small allowance for very limited airline partnership opportunities.
“This process has been a long and, sometimes frustrating, three years for our negotiators, but we are not done yet,” continued Jackson. “The decision now rests with our outstanding pilot group to see if this agreement is an acceptable solution. If it is not, we are prepared to return to the table.”