For Immediate Release
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association Files Suit Against Southwest Airlines
For Declaratory & Injunctive Release
Working Without Contract For Four Years, AMFA Claims SWA
Has Committed Multiple Violations Of Railway Labor Act
AURORA, CO - Friday, December 16, 2016 – The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) today filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against Southwest Airlines, claiming the carrier has committed multiple violations of the Railway Labor Act during contract negotiations.
AMFA is accusing Southwest Airlines of negotiating in bad faith, misrepresenting negotiations to AMFA members, and interfering with the AMFA representatives’ efforts to represent their AMFA members. See attached for a copy of the suit filed with the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
Southwest Airlines mechanics have been negotiating a new contract with Southwest Airlines for four years, three months and thirty days. During this time period the mechanics have not received an increase in pay despite the carrier enjoying record profits. In 2014 company profits exceeded $421 million and by 2015 the profits reached $2.4 billion.
One of the main contentions in the contract negotiations is CEO Gary Kelly’s insistence on outsourcing maintenance work to low skilled, non-certified mechanics to include foreign countries. Kelly’s plan would jeopardize job security of Southwest Airlines mechanics and put their flying customers at risk.
“The thought of flying 40,000 feet in the air on a plane serviced by low skilled, non-certified mechanics outsourced to foreign countries is very troubling,” said Bret Oestreich, AMFA National Director. “AMFA helped build Southwest Airlines into the best carrier in the world under the leadership of our former CEO. Herb Kelleher took care of his employees who in turn dedicated themselves to the growth of the company. New CEO Gary Kelly’s attempt to outsource our jobs is destroying what Mr. Kelleher built and putting customers on alert or making customers uneasy.”
Aircraft mechanics are a direct contributor to Southwest Airlines’ safety record, on-time performances, and reliability; however, due to the destructive policies and leadership of Gary Kelly, AMFA members have been forced to demonstrate their displeasure with management in pickets and writing letters, while all three Southwest Airlines workgroups voted in favor of a Vote of No Confidence in Southwest Airlines leadership on August 16, 2016. With no improvements in four years of negotiations, AMFA has been forced into the mediation process to seek help from the federal government.
AMFA contends Gary Kelly’s contract demands are part of a shortsighted money grab for more shareholder profit, a move that could weaken the carrier’s safety ratings and irreparably change the once-outstanding culture at Southwest Airlines. These decisions could very well destroy the company’s long-term future.
“We are asking CEO Gary Kelly to do what Herb Kelleher would have done – put his employees and flying customers first,” said Oestreich. “That is the way our company was built, and that is why the company is so profitable today. If Kelly continues down this path, Southwest Airlines will be neither profitable nor safe.”
AMFA was forced to take this measure for our Members, and stands ready to bargain in good faith.
Founded in 1962, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association is a craft oriented, independent aviation union. AMFA represents licensed and unlicensed technicians and related employees actively involved in the aviation industry. These technician and related employees work directly on aircraft and/or components, support equipment, and facilities. AMFA is committed to elevating the professional standing of technicians and to achieving progressive improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions of the skilled craftsmen and women it represents. For more information about AMFA visit www.amfanational.org.