Machinists Union Customer Service Workers at Soutwest are considering a Tentative Agreement that would provide historic wages and overtime protections.

Tentative Deal at Southwest: Historic Pay, Overtime Protections

Organizing
26 October 2022

Southwest Airlines has reached a new tentative agreement that would give its employees the biggest paychecks in the history of commercial aviation. The deal also tightens restrictions on mandatory overtime, a vital issue for the Machinists Union. If ratified by union members, the agreement could set a precedent for United Airlines, which is currently engaged in ongoing negotiations with multiple workgroups, all of whom are also members of the Machinists Union. It could also become a decisive factor as JetBlue Ground Operations prepares to vote on joining the Union.

The deal will give union members at Southwest a pay raise of between 16% and 25% over four years, creating the highest wages in the industry. It will also shorten the time it takes to reach the top wage. The new wage structure will include “Me Too” provisions that will ensure union members will also get whatever future raises and other pay enhancements are won by other unions for similar work at the carrier. In addition, the agreement will provide substantial bonuses. The bonuses are calculated by years at the company, with a minimum of $1,000 for newer workers with under five years of seniority and an additional $200 for each year over five.

The workgroup belongs to District 142 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Perhaps even more urgent to union members than higher pay is placing strict controls on the abusive use of mandatory overtime. This agreement will put caps on the total amount of overtime the company can demand and allow overtime to be refused under certain conditions. It will also impose double-time pay for some overtime work.

The Tentative Agreement must win the approval of a majority of the 8,300 Customer Service and related union members at Southwest Airlines, who rejected two other proposals earlier this year. The deal does not apply to other workgroups, such as ground service.

The IAM will hold tentative agreement informational meetings once all ratification vote locations and dates are confirmed.

“Our IAM negotiating team and membership has been steadfast to obtain an agreement that treats Southwest Airlines workers with the respect they’ve earned,” said IAM Airline Coordinator Tom Regan. “This agreement represents years of work, through a pandemic, to put our members at the top of the industry.”

 

Since 2008, Machinists Union Members in the commercial aviation industry have collectively bargained a series of historic milestones in the labor movement. Airline workers with the Union have won the highest-ever pay increases no fewer than five times since 2008. This includes setting new industry records for pay at United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaskan. If Union Members at Southwest ratify the agreement, they will become the newest record-holders for highest-paid customer service workers in the airline industry.

The new agreement got the attention of JetBlue ground Operations Crewmembers, who are currently awaiting a unification vote with the Machinists Union. Within minutes of its announcement, it was shared multiple times on union-themed chat boards and social media platforms. However, in a flagrant violation of labor law, JetBlue managers, who closely monitor the online pro-union discussions, swiftly removed all mention of the Southwest agreement. 

District President Mike Klemm, who is helping lead contract negotiations at United Airlines, said the possible agreement at Southwest could strengthen the Union’s hand at United. “This is where the industry is regarding pay, overtime, outsourcing… any airline has to compete for workers from a dwindling talent pool. Not everyone can pass the background checks, do incredibly hard work with absolute precision, pass the constant training requirements, all the things needed to work in this industry,” he said. “United is saying they need to hire 30,000 new workers over the next few years if they want to keep up,” he continued. “They need to invest in their workforce, or they will lose out to airlines like Alaskan and Soutwest.” 

Read the Agreement Highlights>

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is the largest transportation and aerospace union in North America. The IAM represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in more than 200 industries, including more than 32,000 members in commercial aviation.

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Tentative Deal at Southwest: Historic Pay, Overtime Protections

26 October 2022

The new deal, which still has to win a ratification vote, will have implications for contract talks at United and Organizing efforts at JetBlue.

Southwest Airlines has reached a new tentative agreement that would give its employees the biggest paychecks in the history of commercial aviation. The deal also tightens restrictions on mandatory overtime, a vital issue for the Machinists Union. If ratified by union members, the agreement could set a precedent for United Airlines, which is currently engaged in ongoing negotiations with multiple workgroups, all of whom are also members of the Machinists Union. It could also become a decisive factor as JetBlue Ground Operations prepares to vote on joining the Union.

The deal will give union members at Southwest a pay raise of between 16% and 25% over four years, creating the highest wages in the industry. It will also shorten the time it takes to reach the top wage. The new wage structure will include “Me Too” provisions that will ensure union members will also get whatever future raises and other pay enhancements are won by other unions for similar work at the carrier. In addition, the agreement will provide substantial bonuses. The bonuses are calculated by years at the company, with a minimum of $1,000 for newer workers with under five years of seniority and an additional $200 for each year over five.

Perhaps even more urgent to union members than higher pay is placing strict controls on the abusive use of mandatory overtime. This agreement will put caps on the total amount of overtime the company can demand and allow overtime to be refused under certain conditions. It will also impose double-time pay for some overtime work.

The Tentative Agreement must win the approval of a majority of the 8,300 Customer Service and related union members at Southwest Airlines, who rejected two other proposals earlier this year. The deal does not apply to other workgroups, such as ground service.

The IAM will hold tentative agreement informational meetings once all ratification vote locations and dates are confirmed.

“Our IAM negotiating team and membership has been steadfast to obtain an agreement that treats Southwest Airlines workers with the respect they’ve earned,” said IAM Airline Coordinator Tom Regan. “This agreement represents years of work, through a pandemic, to put our members at the top of the industry.”

Since 2008, Machinists Union Members in the commercial aviation industry have collectively bargained a series of historic milestones in the labor movement. Airline workers with the Union have won the highest-ever pay increases no fewer than five times since 2008. This includes setting new industry records for pay at United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaskan. If Union Members at Southwest ratify the agreement, they will become the newest record-holders for highest-paid customer service workers in the airline industry.

The new agreement got the attention of JetBlue ground Operations Crewmembers, who are currently awaiting a unification vote with the Machinists Union. Within minutes of its announcement, it was shared multiple times on union-themed chat boards and social media platforms. However, in a flagrant violation of labor law, JetBlue managers, who closely monitor the online pro-union discussions, swiftly removed all mention of the Southwest agreement.

District President Mike Klemm, who is helping lead contract negotiations at United Airlines, said the possible agreement at Southwest could strengthen the Union’s hand at United. “This is where the industry is regarding pay, overtime, outsourcing… any airline has to compete for workers from a dwindling talent pool. Not everyone can pass the background checks, do incredibly hard work with absolute precision, pass the constant training requirements, all the things needed to work in this industry,” he said. “United is saying they need to hire 30,000 new workers over the next few years if they want to keep up,” he continued. “They need to invest in their workforce, or they will lose out to airlines like Alaskan and Soutwest.” 

Read the Agreement Highlights>

Customer Service Agents at Southwest are members of District 142 of The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The IAM is the largest transportation and aerospace union in North America. The IAM represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in more than 200 industries, including more than 32,000 members in commercial aviation.

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