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Fri, Apr 23, 2004

He's Baaaaack

SWA Asks Kelleher To Step In On Labor Talks

Herb's back.

The founder of Southwest Airlines has returned to the fold at the company's request, hoping to break a two-year old logjam in contract negotiations with its flight attendants.

Kelleher will step in for his own replacement, Southwest CEO James Parker. The Dallas Morning News says Parker told his employees that negotiations with the Transport Workers Union "have become very personal and, therefore, have gotten off track." By stepping back from the bargaining table, Parker said he hoped "allow us to restore the civility and mutual respect" to the negotiations.

Last week, the union let Parker know how displeased its members were when they heard Parker himself got an 8.3 percent raise. The company's only offering flight attendance less than three percent a year.

Local 556 President Thom McDaniel says it's nothing personal -- just business. "We don't believe this has ever been a personal battle with Jim Parker, and it won't become a personal battle with the legacy of Herb Kelleher."

FMI: www.southwest.com

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