Southwest Pilots Union To Hold Strike Authorization Vote

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The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) has called for a strike authorization vote from its membership. SWAPA pointed to a lack of progress on contract negotiations as well as the airline’s recent “meltdown,” which saw the cancellation of thousands of flights in late December, as reasons for the move. The vote will be the first of its kind in Southwest’s history.

“It was the lack of discussion or commitment by our leadership team to rectify these issues for our passengers and our pilots that drove us to make the decision to carry forward on this path afforded to us by the Railway Labor Act,” said SWAPA President Casey Murray. “It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but given the trajectory of our current leadership group, we have little faith in the stability and future of our airline.”

The strike authorization vote is expected to take place beginning May 1, 2023, and be counted at the end of the month. Southwest noted that negotiators assigned by the National Mediation Board have been mediating contract negotiations between the airline and SWAPA since October 2022. Mediation is scheduled to resume tomorrow (Jan. 24).

“We will continue to follow the process outlined in the Railway Labor Act and work, under the assistance of the National Mediation Board, toward reaching an agreement that rewards our Pilots and places them competitively in the industry,” said Adam Carlisle, Southwest Airlines vice president for labor relations. “The union’s potential vote does not hinder our ongoing efforts at the negotiating table.”

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Two problems came together at this latest “meltdown.” One, was a Secretary of Transportation that doesn’t know anything about transportation. Two, an airline management that continues to keep employees out of the loop, so to speak regarding measures the company could take to help recover and return to normal operations. The failure of management to seek out the opinions of people working on the line. I have worked for an aerospace company that did something similar. An aloof attitude by management toward its employees. Company issues like this need to be resolved. As to Transportation Secretary, the industry will have to wait for someone more competent to be assigned to that position.

    • I seem to remember from the big fight over unionizing the VW plant in Tennessee that there are crazy rules on seeking advice from union members on how to run the company. Don’t care what you think about unions, the labor laws around them are dirt. Need to rip them out and start over.

    • I’m really having a hard time understanding how the Secretary of Transportation, who’s been there two years, had anything to do with Southwest’s meltdown. A meltdown that has been years in the making.

      • He has very little to nothing to do with it. But of course you’ve got guys like Owen that crawl out of the woodwork like cockroaches to make such statements. He’s far more qualified than many other Secretaries of Transportation we’ve had in the Cabinet. But Owen likes to argue in bad faith with his narrow worldview.

    • You are completely unqualified to comment on the qualifications of Sec. Buttigieg. Is it because he’s Biden’s secretary and/or because he’s openly gay? Doesn’t really matter. Of course, you’re arguing from bad faith, but it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that.

  2. Don’t worry, Tough Guy, as this right winger is just happy to have Pete out of South Bend. His “smart streets” make the commute through South Bend more time-consuming. Other people of a certain complexion are also glad he’s gone, since Pete worked hard to keep “those people” out of the pasty white campaign donating Notre Dame neighborhood.