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Southwest Airlines, pilots union reach tentative labor deal

After 3 1/2 years of negotiations, Southwest is the last of the four major airlines to reach a deal with pilots.

Southwest plane taking off
Matt Hartman / AP
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Southwest Airlines and its pilots reached a tentative labor agreement after 3 1/2 years of negotiations, the last of the four major airlines to reach a deal with pilots.

The Dallas-based carrier said Tuesday it was pleased to reach the agreement in principle, which it called a “key milestone.”

Specific terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, but pilots at American, United and Delta have won raises of roughly 40% over five years.

The Southwest pilots opened a “strike center” in Dallas last month and twice asked federal mediators for permission to begin a 30-day countdown to a strike, but they were rejected both times.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said its 25-member board of directors will evaluate the agreement and if approved, will present it to the roughly 11,000 pilot members.

The tentative deal comes just weeks after flight attendants at Southwest rejected a tentative deal after five years of talks during which the group didn't receive raises.

DOT orders Southwest to pay record $140M over 2022 holiday meltdown
DOT orders Southwest to pay record $140M over 2022 holiday meltdown

DOT orders Southwest to pay record $140M over 2022 holiday meltdown

The penalty is the largest in Department of Transportation history and aims to deter other airlines from similar mishaps.

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