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Response to Statement from Southwest Airlines Chief Operating Officer, Mike Van de Ven
Feb 19, 2019

February 19, 2019

Southwest Airline’s scapegoating of its expert Aircraft Maintenance Technicians does not bode well for the airline’s safe operations. Safety is, and always will be, our number one priority. For Southwest's leadership to connect the airline’s self-declared “operational emergency” to collective bargaining negotiations is simply an attempt to divert attention away from the airline’s safety issues. The FAA has condemned the carrier’s “capitulation of airworthiness” and Southwest has confessed that it has flown passengers in unairworthy aircraft. These glaring issues and the widespread pressuring of aircraft maintenance technicians by the airline were exposed in the recent CBS News report.

Southwest Airlines Vice President of Maintenance Operations, Landon Nitschke, demanded that the airline’s aircraft maintenance technicians focus on “compliance, compliance, compliance,” but now we are threatened with the further coercive pressure of litigation. Southwest Airlines’ mechanics are working the overtime demanded of them. But Southwest Airlines has the fewest mechanics to aircraft of any major carrier. We will continue to do our job as expert craftsman, for the safety of Southwest’s passengers.

On behalf of the NEC,

Bret Oestreich
National Director

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