Southwest Airways: Definitely deserve a Brand New Contract

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Southwest airline planes sit on the tarmac at Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport on February 20, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Southwest Airlines is reported to be investigating maintenance issues that have kept aircraft out of service and prompted flight cancellations possibly due to a dispute between the carrier and its mechanics' union. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Southwest Airways and a union describing its mechanics could be on the verge of ending a bitter, lengthy-working labor dispute that has triggered heaps of flight cancellations and raised security considerations. The two sides introduced the tentative contract settlement late Saturday after six years of negotiations between Southwest LUV, +0.41%, and the Plane Mechanics Fraternal Affiliation.

The deal yet must be voted on by the roughly 2,400 mechanics who will obtain a 20% increase if the contract is accredited. The five-year agreement also requires $160 million in bonuses for the mechanics. The settlement, reached in every week of mediation, got here after the Federal Aviation Administration predicted that the deteriorating connection within Southwest and its mechanics threatened to undermine the airline’s security management system.

Southwest had complained about mechanics flagging minor upkeep points to drive pointless flight cancellations for issues similar to lacking seat row numbers. The variety of canceled flights had jumped to 62 a day in February, from the traditional 14, based on a lawsuit that Southwest filed in opposition to the mechanics union for what it alleged was an unlawful work slowdown designed to strain the airline into agreeing to a contract.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly had mentioned the flight cancellations had been costing the airline thousands of dollars. The union had filed its lawsuit accusing Southwest and its chief working officer of defamation. Either side issued conciliatory statements Sunday, however, declined to debate how the tentative settlement would possibly affect their respective lawsuits.