Southwest Airlines planes are loaded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren/AP Photo, file

Southwest, mechanics reach tentative deal in labor dispute

March 17, 2019 - 2:45 pm
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DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines and a union representing its mechanics say they're on the verge of ending a bitter, long-running labor dispute that has triggered hundreds of flight cancellations and raised safety concerns.

The two sides say the breakthrough announced Saturday consists of a preliminary agreement on a new contract after six years of negotiation between Southwest and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

The tentative deal still needs to be voted on by the roughly 2,400 mechanics who will receive a 20 percent raise if the contract is approved.

The agreement came after the Federal Aviation Administration warned that the deteriorating relationship between Southwest and its mechanics threatened to undermine the airline's safety-management system.

Southwest had complained about mechanics flagging minor maintenance issues to force unnecessary flight cancellations.

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