Tentative seniority integration deal for Southwest/AirTran flight attendants

Southwest Airlines has announced a tentative Seniority Integration Agreement between the Company, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) 556, the union representing Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants, and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) Council 57, the union representing the Flight Attendants of AirTran Airways, designed to integrate the two groups’ seniority lists.

TWU 556’s Executive Board and AFA’s Master Executive Council both approved the agreement, which will allow the membership of each union to review the proposed agreement and ultimately put it to a ratification vote. Southwest Airlines closed the acquisition of AirTran Holdings on 2 May 2011.

"The union and company negotiating teams never lost focus on the ultimate goal of creating an integrated seniority list and transition plan for our flight attendants – one that avoided arbitration," noted Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines’ executive vice-president and chief operating officer. "Much like the pilots before them, everyone involved in the flight attendant discussions took ownership of their role in the integration of AirTran into Southwest Airlines, and I want to commend our teams for delivering this crucial first step in that process."

"Our flight attendants represent Southwest’s largest workgroup – which makes this tentative agreement all the more special," added Mike Hafner, Southwest Airlines’ vice-president of cabin services. "After much hard work; long hours; and a commitment from all parties to our flight attendants, AirTran Airways, and Southwest Airlines, we are now ready to take the next step toward integration and submit the agreement to both memberships for a vote."

Both flight attendant unions will now spend the next several weeks reviewing the tentative agreement before putting it up for a ratification vote. TWU represents approximately 9,800 Southwest Airlines flight attendants, and the AFA represents close to 2,400 AirTran Airways flight attendants.

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