Southwest Blames Operational Emergency On Its Employees?
A little over a week ago we did a post about how Southwest announced an operational emergency. They had roughly 5% of their planes in for maintenance and were unable to properly serve their customers because of it. This lead to some delays and hundreds of cancellations. To combat that they told their maintenance employees that they would need to work overtime and would be fired if they called in without a doctor’s note. Since then the story has taken a turn for the worse.
Related: Tips & Tricks On How To Best Use The Southwest Companion Pass
Southwest Blaming Employees?
It should be noted that Southwest and the mechanics union have been in contract talks for years now and they have not been able to come to an agreement. That has most likely fractured the relationship and trust between the two parties.
Fortune reports the following:
In a statement released Tuesday, COO Mike Van de Ven said the company had “experienced an unprecedented number of out-of-service aircraft” and went on to suggest that the problems lie with employees that are members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) — with whom the airline has been negotiating for six years.
Van de Ven added that the increase in mechanical problems occurred “just days after our last negotiations session with AMFA,” and that they took place in “four specific maintenance locations despite no change in our maintenance programs, no changes in leadership, and no changes in our policies and procedures.”
He continued that “AMFA has a history of work disruptions, and Southwest has two pending lawsuits against the union. We will be investigating this current disruption and exploring all possible remedies.”
That is a ballsy play in my opinion and I doubt it will help negotiations or getting the planes back faster.
This is not a good look for Southwest and just as they are launching flights to Hawaii. You would think they would have some spare planes lying around for those flights they could borrow but I guess not.
A labor dispute that has gone on for 6 years is starting to bubble over and play out in the media. It is Southwest passengers that are being caught in the cross hairs and getting punished for it though.
The mechanical issues are on top of dealing with the many Southwest cyber attacks that have caused delays and cancellations as well. As if dealing with Southwest’s boarding procedure wasn’t enough of a hassle.