DALLAS, TX—Southwest Airlines has reached an “agreement in principle” with the union representing its mechanics after six years of sometimes extremely-contentious negotiations.
The agreement comes at a time when the aviation industry (both airlines and aircraft manufacturers) is facing a projected shortage of 754,000 mechanics over the next 20 years.
Last month, Southwest Airlines sued the mechanics union, claiming that its mechanics were illegally sabotaging the airline with work slowdowns, which caused Southwest to cancel as many as 100 flights a day, costing the company millions.
In response, the union countersued the airline.
Finally, after six long years, the company and union agreed to a contract.
According to a joint letter (in full below) issues by the airline and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the agreement includes:
- Twenty percent (20%) snap-up to base wage rates effective April 1, 2019;
- Three percent (3%) base rate increases on August 16 in 2019-2023;
- One hundred sixty million ($160,000,000) dollar ratification bonus that is 401(k) and profit sharing-eligible;
Based upon the announced $160 million ratification bonus, the average mechanic could see nearly $66,666—or $11,111 per year of the six years they were without a contract—depending on how the parties determine the ratification bonus will be divided amongst the airline’s 2,400 mechanics.
According to Salary.com, the “average Aircraft Mechanic (Jet) salary in the United States is $84,644 as of February 28, 2019, but the range typically falls between $73,752 and $95,397.”
The agreement between Southwest Airlines and AMFA becomes “amenable” in August 2024.