Southwest Airlines reaches 4-year contract with one union, but more labor fights loom

Nicholas Sakelaris
Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal

Southwest Airlines reached a four-year contract with its customer service agents and customer representatives, the Dallas-based airline announced Wednesday.

Labor relations have been an ongoing issue for the airline, which is in negotiations with six out of its 12 unions.

Customer service agents and representatives, who are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, will get pay increases and bonuses that are tied to company and employee performance.

"I am proud to have a new, lucrative contract that rewards our employees for their exceptional performance while adding flexibilities that support our mission of being the number-one low-cost carrier in the country," said Randy Babbitt, vice president of labor relations for Southwest in a statement. "With the ratification coming before the end of the year, our IAM employees will benefit from Southwest's outstanding 2014 financial accomplishments."

The company has 45,000 employees with 83 percent of them being unionized.

The pilots association has federal mediators to intervene in contract talks with Southwest (NYSE: LUV).

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