May 23, 2017
Dear SWA Members:
During negotiations with Southwest Airlines (SWA) our members have not reaped any of the rewards of year-over-year record profits. Since the amendable date of our contract, August 16, 2012, the sacrifices for AMTs have far outweighed the Company’s financial record profit success. Since 2012, shareholders and SWA executives have been profiting off their returns from stock repurchases and dividends, while our members have not benefited or received improvements in wages, benefits, or compensation that reflects the Company’s strong financial stance.
We AMTs are a crucial part of the Company’s safety record, reliability, on time performance, and overall success. SWA has publicly projected to have a future fleet fringing about 1,000. The current AMT to aircraft ratio at SWA is 3:3, which is well below the ratio maintained at other legacy carriers. SWA management takes the position of work more for less money, further increasing their profitability. While Gary Kelly boasts, “When the Company does well, the employees do even better,” AMT wages and benefits have not gotten better.
Instead of enhancements in light of record profits, AMTs have been in negotiations for 4 years, 9 months (1741 days). Why does SWA continue to use textbook stall tactics with its AMTs and continue to misrepresent the Company’s stance on the future NG/MAX Maintenance footprint? AMFA recognizes the Company’s agenda, and we must ensure protections are in place to offset the overabundance and disgenuine contractual breeches of outsourcing limits and work rules witnessed over recent years.
Surprisingly, the Company’s profits before people at all costs approach is the driving force behind threatened job security, future outsourcing increases, and the lower aircraft to AMT ratio. All while the SWA AMTs perform their daily job functions, doing more with less, to produce a safe, reliable, and ontime product.
In 2016, Southwest’s net income rose 2.9% to $2.24 billion while revenues increased 3.1% to $20.4 billion. Shares of Southwest have risen 15% since the beginning of the year. On May 17, 2017, Southwest Airlines held its shareholder meeting in Phoenix, AZ:
The Company authorized a new $2.0 billion share repurchase program. Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Based on our strong results, cash flow outlook, and investment grade balance sheet, I'm pleased to announce the Board's decision today to increase our quarterly dividend by 25 percent. Annualized, the increased dividend amounts to approximately $300 million, and an approximate one percent dividend yield, to our Shareholders. The Board also authorized a new $2.0 billion share repurchase program. Our May 2016 $2.0 billion share repurchase authorization was completed earlier this month.”
This additional $2.0 billion in share repurchase means that since the AMFA contract became amendable in 2012, SWA has spent approximately $8 billion buying back shares of SWA stock (LUV). It is very evident that Gary Kelly and SWA executives find AMTs of no value to this Company.
Presently, 85% of our domestic travel is completed by four major carriers, SWA being the largest. 1 in 4 domestic passengers fly SWA metal domestically. Our goal and commitment is to help SWA in effectiveness by taking care of the customer, maintaining the competitive advantage, and contributing to the record profits by producing a safe, competitive, and reliable product.