Air- Southwest Airlines flight attendants start contract negotiations – Dallas Business Journal

Posted: June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

June 10, 2013

As Southwest Airlines expands to international destinations and uses bigger aircraft, compensation for the company’s flight attendants needs to be adjusted, Audrey Stone, the new Transport Workers Union Local 556 President said.

Negotiations started Monday at Southwest’s (NYSE: LUV) Dallas headquarters to iron out a new contract for the company’s 11,000 flight attendants.

The first meeting included opening statements from both sides and a schedule of meetings through the end of the year, said Stone, who was appointed president of the union last week.

“It was to lay out the ground rules, the expectations, what everyone wants to see happen and how we expect to get there,” she said. “Both sides are committed to getting in there and negotiating a contract and I think scheduling meetings to the end of the year demonstrates that.”

The airline is growing by adding bigger aircraft, expanding airport terminals to accommodate overseas flights and merging with AirTran Airways.

The bigger Boeing 737-800 aircraft holds about 30 more passengers than the regular Boeing 737, so it takes more time to load and unload passengers, Stone said.

Flight attendants are paid by the mile but do receive a duty rig fee based on the length of their day, said Stone, who has been a flight attendant with Southwest for nine years.

“We want to make sure our flight attendants are 100 percent covered for their time,” Stone said.

Other concerns the union has are drastic changes to the sick bank and attendance policy.

The TWU team surveyed its members and traveled to all the Southwest base cities to talk with flight attendants.

She had no prediction for how long the negotiations with management would last.

“We will take as long as we need to make sure we get the right contract,” Stone said.

Southwest officials declined to comment on the negotiations but did release a statement today:

“We look forward to working with our flight attendants to ensure that we have a successful, rewarding and secure future together. We are looking for a contract that is flexible, rewarding and secure–both for our hard working flight attendants and for the company.”

via Southwest Airlines flight attendants start contract negotiations – Dallas Business Journal.

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