Southwest Airlines flight attendants reject tentative contract

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 24, 2015 3:02 PM

(Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co flight attendants voted overwhelmingly against a tentative contract that would have raised wages but involved changes in work rules that many thought were burdensome, their union said Friday.

Some 87 percent of voting flight attendants rejected the tentative deal, according to the Transport Workers Union Local 556. The union said it will continue negotiations with Southwest on the contract, which became amendable more than two years ago.

"Our membership has given us our marching orders," TWU Local 556 President Audrey Stone said in a statement. Some 89 percent of flight attendants voted in total.

Randy Babbitt, Southwest's senior vice president of labor relations, said in a news release that the low-cost carrier was "disappointed" the deal did not pass, which would have run through May 2019 and given the work group an 8-percent ratification bonus.

Southwest "remains committed to reaching an agreement that best serves the interests of both the company and its flight attendants," it said in the release.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)