Southwest Airlines Pilots Approve New Contract

Published: 11-09-2016
Pilots at Southwest Airlines agreed on a new contract that will offer giant pay increase over the next four years.

After four long years of negotiations, it seems that patience has finally paid off. On November 7, pilots at Southwest Airlines agreed to ratify a new contract that will increase their pay by 29.6 percent over the next four years.

The contract provides an immediate pay raise of 15 percent, which retroactively covers 2013, 2014, and 2015, followed by a 3 percent increase in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Southwest pilots will also see an increase in their retirement contributions and in their per diem.

The union said that over 96 percent of the carrier’s 8,400 pilots voted, with 84 percent voting in favor of the contract. Last year, 62 percent of Southwest pilots rejected the tentative agreement that would have increased pay by 17.6 percent.

Besides boost in pilot pay, the newly ratified contract moves the retirement plan from company-matching contribution to a defined contribution plan, which is common among legacy carriers. Further details on the new pay scale and retirement plan can be found on Southwest Airlines’ APC profile.

The ratification of the new agreement comes a year removed from the rejection of the previous tentative agreement, which ultimately lead to the union electing Jon Weaks as its new president. Earlier this month, 98.47 percent of Southwest pilots re-elected Weaks as union president for an additional two-year term.

The contract will become amendable in November 2020.

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