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Southwest Airlines strikes new deals with flight attendants, mechanics unions

Since last October, Southwest has reached agreements with eight of its union partners.

DALLAS — As the summer travel season starts heating up, Southwest Airlines has announced reaching agreements with two of its workers' unions.

The Dallas-based airline announced this weekend that it has reached agreements in principle with unions representing its flight attendants and its mechanics.

They are the seventh and eighth agreements Southwest has reached with its union partners since October 2022.

"We are pleased that we have reached an agreement in principle with TWU Local 556 regarding a new contract for our Flight Attendants," the airline said in a statement provided to WFAA. "We appreciate the collective efforts of both negotiating teams which contributed to reaching this important milestone."

The airlines said additional details are still to follow in their agreed-upon contract extension with the mechanics.

Southwest currently employs nearly 19,000 flight attendants in its ranks. Its last deal with the flight attendants' union has been in mediation since it expired in 2018.

The airline is still negotiating new deals for its pilots and ground workers unions. 

In May, the pilots union voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike -- a largely symbolic move as the group continued negotiations on a new contract.

That vote -- the details of which were released by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association -- does not necessarily mean that pilots will go on strike. Rather, strike authorization votes are commonly seen as a message from a union to a company during negotiations.

Southwest has never had a labor strike. 

Still, Southwest employees have been especially critical of management in the wake of the airline's December travel chaos, which led to thousands of canceled flights in the week after Christmas. 

While Southwest posted a first-quarter loss in the wake of the holiday meltdown, the Dallas-based airline said it expects to post a profit for the second quarter of 2023.

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