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Southwest Airlines pilots to vote on contract proposal

🕐 1 min read

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines’ 8,000 pilots will vote on a proposed contract that includes pay raises and higher retirement contributions.

The pilots’ union announced the vote on Thursday but said its board declined to recommend approval or rejection after reviewing the tentative deal for four days.

Union President Paul Jackson said pilots should “decide for themselves if this agreement meets their expectations.” Southwest Vice President Craig Drew said he was encouraged that the union decided to let pilots vote.

The company and the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association have been negotiating for more than three years.

The size of the raises and other details were not disclosed. The union said that the proposal contains items favored by Southwest, including separate provisions for pilots who fly international routes or new Boeing jets that will start showing up in 2017. Voting will finish by Nov. 4.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. is the nation’s fourth-biggest airline. The company earned a record $1.14 billion in net income last year and earned $1.06 billion in the first six months of this year.

Southwest shares rose 35 cents to close at $39.49 before news of the tentative contract. The shares have lost 7 percent in 2015.

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