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Massive Problems at Southwest Airlines

Managements inability to manage has created scares, cancellations and labor instability

Brian Young's picture
Mar 06, 2019

I asked UCOMM’s Brian Young to do some research and write this piece up to give you the story behind the story about what is really happening at Southwest Airlines. Like me, you may personally know a Southwest customer whose flight has been delayed, or canceled, and of course, the true reasons for it remain unknown. You can only blame the snow so many times. The fact is Southwest was once a good company. Their previous President Herb Kelleher was a gem to work with. Since he left the company the new management style is almost Trump-esque. Management's inability to properly lead has created animosity amongst those who are charged with carrying some of our most precious cargo- our children; they have been forced to work in a hostile work environment. See for yourself in the piece below, we can’t make this stuff up. If you would like to send a message to Southwest, here is their email -Kris LaGrange

Southwest Airlines is suing its mechanic's union for doing their jobs too well. According to the lawsuit filed last week, the low-cost carrier was forced to delay or cancel hundreds of flights after mechanics began deeming planes unsafe to fly. The company claims that these delays cost the company millions of dollars.

The airline is claiming that mechanics doubled the number of out of service jets as a job action since the company has refused to settle a contract with the mechanics union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), since 2012.

However, earlier in the month, the union alleged that supervisors at Southwest were pressuring mechanics to allow planes to fly even though they had issues that could put passengers at risk.

According to the union, this lawsuit comes after the company issued a “State of Operational Emergency” at a number of locations that weren’t getting aircraft back in service fast enough.  Even with this push to put planes that the mechanics had deemed unsafe back into service, the union has been unwilling to allow the company to push them around and risk the public’s safety.

“It is disturbing and extremely concerning that Southwest Airlines misunderstands the most fundamental duties and responsibilities of federally licensed airmen and the services that they provide to a point at which it spitefully sues their representative body in an attempt to suppress their mandated role,” said Brett Oestreich, the National Director of AMFA. “This legal attack on its own employees is unprecedented in the history of this Company. In the context of the so-called emergency – aimed only at AMFA – it seems clear that Southwest Airlines is sending a message to all its employees. The message to AMFA is, “we are going to attack your Union and force its demise.” AMFA is being made an example. Therefore, the messages for the other work groups on the property are, “you will be next, and “comply with Federal Aviation Regulations at your own risk.”

The mechanics have also gained support from the 10,000 member Southwest Airlines Pilot Association, which accused the company of creating "unnecessary fear and safety concerns in our passengers and the flying public." They also accused the company of playing hardball with the union so that they could outsource more mechanic work to unskilled, low-wage non-union companies.

With no contract and a pending lawsuit, Southwest travelers should expect even more delays over the coming weeks as mechanics working under labor unrest go over all of the 700+ planes with a fine tooth comb to ensure your safety in the air.

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