Southwest Pilots Authorize Strike


Southwest Airlines Pilots Association members have given their union a virtually unanimous strike mandate as negotiations with the airline grow increasingly tense. A total of 99 percent of 98 percent of the union’s approximately 10,000 members voted to authorize a strike if it’s permitted by the National Mediation Board. There’s a lot of legal ground to cover before it ever comes to that so a strike is far from imminent, but it was noteworthy enough for both parties to comment on Saturday.

The company said the vote won’t affect its approach to negotiations, which are still going on. It also stressed that it will have no effect on flights. “Our negotiating team continues to bargain in good faith and work toward reaching a new agreement to reward our pilots,” said VP of Labor Relations Adam Carlisle. Union President Casey Murray said the vote marked a “historic day” for both the union and the company. “The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point,” Murray said.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. As a relatively new pilot at AA many years ago we were in negotiations. A captain I was flying with said he only wanted 4 things in the new contract: “I want to make as much money as my brother-in-law thinks I make. I want as much time off as my neighbors think I get. I want as much sex on my layovers as my wife thinks I’m getting. And I want it all retroactive.”

  2. Article is pretty light on details. When did they start negotiating? When does their contract become amendable?
    You can’t strike until 30 days after the NLRB declares an impasse.

  3. What the hell happened to Southwest. For the longest time they seemed on top of the market with good customer service, decent on-time performance and an employee base that seemed happy with their jobs and company. If I remember I think their mission statement even put employee satisfaction above customer (happy employees = happy customers).

    Now they cancel flights all over the place, pilots vote to strike, FA’s seem uninspired and from other articles I’ve read even boarding has gotten worse. If I flew out west I would first look at SW, but now?