Southwest Airlines Negotiating Committee Update
The AMFA-Southwest Airlines (SWA) Negotiating Committee is currently scheduled to meet with
Southwest Airlines management in August to amend our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). For
those of you involved in your first negotiations or for those who need a refresher please refer to the
The process of negotiations with management is governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The
RLA, passed in 1926, was originally legislated to allow railroad union workers to resolve disputes with
management while minimizing the potential for interstate commerce disruptions. The airline industry
was folded into the RLA under Title II in 1936. Historically, negotiations procedures fell under section
6 of the RLA but currently several sections of the RLA apply to contract negotiations in the airline
industry. In fact, “section 6” is not even located in section 6 of the RLA today (see 45 USC Chapter 8
Sections 151 – 188) but the name is still commonly used.
The timeline for each step varies and at any point during these steps (direct negotiations, mediation or
arbitration) a Tentative Agreement (TA) may be reached. When a TA is reached, ballots are sent to
each member in good standing for ratification. You can ensure eligibility to vote as a member in good
standing by keeping your dues current. If approved by a majority vote, the agreement goes into effect.
If the membership rejects the TA, then the process basically repeats itself with minor differences.
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