June 10, 2016
Dear Houston Based and Southwest Airlines Members:
We bring to your attention an important matter: earlier today attorneys for Southwest Airlines wrote to AMFA Legal alleging that our members were engaged in an illegal “job action” by coordinating to refuse overtime work in Houston. In addition, Landon Nitschke, V.P. of Maintenance Operations, sent a letter dated June 9, 2016, to all AMFA-represented Employees making the same allegations.
As you know, we are currently engaged in collective bargaining pursuant to the Railway Labor Act. As long as that lasts the parties are required to refrain from “self help” until released by the NMB from mediation and a thirty-day cooling off period has expired. This means that, during the negotiating process, Southwest is prohibited from initiating a lockout or unilaterally changing the terms of our collective bargaining agreement. It also means that AMFA-represented employees are prohibited from engaging in concerted job actions designed to create bargaining leverage. Federal courts have defined “self help” to include group overtime boycotts.
AMFA did not call for or endorse any overtime boycott, and we consider any such action prior to our exhaustion of the Section 6 negotiating process to be contrary to the best interests of the Association. AMFA members are requested to refrain from participation in any collective effort to withhold services from the Company at this juncture. We want to say clearly and emphatically that no member should coordinate or engage in a concerted overtime ‘ban’ or boycott.
Upon completion of the RLA-mandated negotiating process, a strike or other job action shall be initiated pursuant to the AMFA Constitution, which requires membership approval.