Southwest Airlines and pilots’ union reach preliminary labor deal after years of contentious talks
After years of contentious talks, Southwest Airlines and its pilots' union have reached a preliminary labor deal. The deal, which is subject to ratification by Southwest's 8,400 pilots, provides improved wages and benefits covering the next five years. In a statement, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said that the agreement will provide "a strong framework for Southwest to continue providing an excellent product and experience for our customers and even better opportunities for our Pilots." The negotiations have been ongoing since 2016, when the pilots sought increased hourly pay and overtime pay protections. The airline resisted the request for higher pay, citing economic uncertainties. If ratified, the deal could yield up to $1 billion in improved salaries and benefits for the pilots.