DALLAS- Southwest Airlines (WN) flight attendants have endured over five years without a fresh Collective Bargaining Agreement with the airline, and their patience has worn thin.
On Jan 23, 2024, TWU Local 556, the union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants, disclosed the outcomes of the strike authorization vote among its members. With over 98 per cent of participating members granting authorization, the TWU Local 556 Executive Board is now empowered to initiate a strike against Southwest Airlines.
Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Strike Vote
In a historic move, flight attendants in the union have voted for the first time to authorize a strike against Southwest Airlines, with resounding results.
Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556 and a seasoned flight attendant, emphasized the non-negotiable principles of equity, equality, and respect for union members.
While recognizing the necessity of industry-standard pay, Montgomery stressed the importance of valuing the personhood of flight attendants as much as that of management and other employees at Southwest Airlines.
Flight attendants are advocating for various contract improvements, including fair scheduling for on-call rotations, appropriate compensation for ground time, enhanced commuter policies, and the provision of a safe place to sleep during overnights.
Expressing their frustration, recent posts by flight attendants and TWU Local 556 feature the phrase: “Deceived. Devalued. Disrespected,” highlighting the perceived disconnect between flight attendants and members of management.
Struggle for Recognition
“When informed at the negotiation table that certain work rule changes are off-limits, only to later grant them to another workgroup, it becomes evident that employees are not valued equally,” stated Montgomery. “
This transcends job roles; our current struggle centres around recognizing our inherent personhood. Our employer has neglected to implement even no-cost work rule changes that could enhance our quality of life.
As we advocate for our professional worth, we find ourselves also contending to be valued as individuals, a matter that remains uncertain with Southwest Airlines management today.
The initiation of a strike authorization vote represents a crucial step toward a potential strike in accordance with Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act.
Suppose TWU Local 556 and Southwest Airlines fail to reach an agreement in federal mediation. In that case, the union may seek release into a thirty-day cooling-off period, granting over 21,000 Southwest Airlines flight attendants the freedom to strike against the largest domestic carrier.
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