About 6,500 customer-service agents at Southwest Airlines approve new 4-year contract

Customer-service agents at Southwest have approved a new labor contract, a boost for the airline, which hasn't been able to get a deal with pilots or ramp workers.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said Wednesday that agents approved a four-year contract that includes pay raises, a signing bonus, job-security provisions and more flexible vacations. The union didn't give details on the raises.

Southwest said the deal included bonuses tied to company and employee performance.

The contract covers about 6,500 passenger-service and reservations agents at the nation's fourth-biggest airline.

About 83 percent of Southwest employees are represented by unions. The airline is still negotiating with six unions. Pilots have asked federal mediators to help break a stalemate in their talks with the Dallas-based company. Dozens of ramp workers picketed at Dallas Love Field last week to complain that three years of negotiations haven't resulted in a contract with their union.

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. rose 26 cents to $40.72 in afternoon trading. They started the day up 115 percent in 2014.