Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the union representing over 2,400 Southwest maintenance technicians and related employees, reached an agreement in principle (AIP) April 10 for a five-year contract.

The agreement comes “after nearly six years of negotiations,” AMFA national director Bret Oestreich said. “The parties have reached the stage where it is time for our members at Southwest to review and vote on a package produced by this protracted process.” The current AMFA contract became amendable in August 2012; the AMFA filed for National Mediation Board assistance in July 2015.

Southwest described the contract as including terms for updated work rules, improved wages and benefits, and a total of $91 million in ratification bonus payments. Southwest labor managers said the agreement “is good for our people and helps Southwest maintain an efficient operation” and “rewards [our employees’] efforts with an industry-leading offer.”

The negotiating committee for the union, however, distributed a memo April 11 explaining the last-minute negotiations that resulted in the AIP, and announced it had decided it “will not endorse this AIP or recommend that you vote yes.  It remains our position that you are entitled to a better compensation package.”

The AIP’s contract language is being finalized and will be sent to employees for a ratification vote in the coming weeks.

Mark Nensel mark.nensel@informa.com