Southwest agrees to pay raises for customer-service agents

    DALLAS (AP) — Customer-service agents at Southwest Airlines will be voting on a new contract that would give them pay raises totaling more than 16% over the next three years.

    The machinists' union said it reached the tentative agreement on Monday.

    The deal would cover about 7,000 Southwest employees.

    The proposed contract is the latest sign of inflationary pressure on airlines.

    Jet fuel is getting more expensive, and airlines have been forced to raise pay to attract workers.

    During the pandemic, Dallas-based Southwest has raised starting pay for many airport-based jobs.

    This month, flight attendants at American Airlines affiliate Piedmont Air approved a contract with “substantial” pay raises and a bonus.

    Two weeks ago, aircraft mechanics and cabin cleaners at Horizon Air, an affiliate of Alaska Airlines, voted 93% to reject a proposed new contract because the raises were too small, according to their union.

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