Southwest Below-Wing Agents Narrowly Ratify Tentative Agreement

On February 19, 2015 Southwest Airlines ramp employees voted to approve a tentative agreement reached in December by a very slim margin of 50.4 percent in favor and 49.5 percent against. The ratified agreement provides for approximately 5% scale increases on date-of-signing and 4% six months later, at which time Southwest would essentially match Delta scales. Thereafter, scale increases total approximately 12% over the life of the 5-year deal. The last base pay increase received by Southwest ramp employees occurred in July 2010.

The agreement provides for a $43M signing bonus, distributed at 5% of earnings from July 2011 to June 2015, and a $15M profitability bonus (based on Southwest achieving a Return-On-Invested-Capital (ROIC) of at least 25% in 2015). Southwest and TWU Local 555 also agreed to shift $23M from the 401(k) match to a cash bonus. Effective January 1, 2019, the Southwest 401(k) match will increase by 1%, to 9.3%.

There were no changes to the profit sharing plan, which paid 15.6% into their 401(k) for 2015, as compared to 21.4% at Delta.

Southwest is in negotiations with six other employee groups, including pilots and flight attendants who both rejected tentative agreements in 2015.

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