Southwest, Mechanics Approve Neal Deal

Four year contract with raises and bonuses

Mechanics at Southwest Airlines have approved a new four-year contract.

The deal with Dallas-based Southwest calls for annual raises and bonuses and includes an agreement on the company's ability to send maintenance work abroad.

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association represents 2,500 of Southwest's 35,000 employees.

The union says the contract includes raises of 3 percent each in 2009, 2010 and 2011 -- and 1 percent in 2012.

Workers will also get a 3 percent ratification bonus, and those at the top pay scale can earn another 1 percent bonus each year if they work enough hours.

The agreement will be signed next week in Dallas.

Southwest has lost money in the last two quarters, breaking a string of profitable quarters that reached back to early 1991. The airline is dealing with a slump in travel and the loss of its once-valuable fuel hedges.


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