January 26, 2018
Dear AMFA-SWA Members:
Southwest Airlines (SWA) set another record profit, earning $3.49 billion in 2017, up from $2.24 billion in 2016. In 2017 the Company spent $1.9 billion on dividends and repurchasing stock, making the remaining shares more valuable. Yesterday, SWA released information for the fourth-quarter profits, which jumped to $1.89 billion following recent tax law modifications that reduced the Company’s deferred tax liability. Gary Kelly said the lower tax rate will save the Company hundreds of millions of dollars, “which will significantly boost our earnings in 2018.” This boost is estimated at $490 million EVERY YEAR. Subsequently, Southwest gave every employee a $1K bonus this month. AMFA members are thankful for the one-time bonus, but that is a small temporary gain, our members deserve a long-term solution.
Under SWA’s unprecedented economic prosperities, our members should not be strung along for more than five (5) years of negotiations. Since the amendable date of our contract -- August 16, 2012 -- the sacrifices of AMTs has far outweighed the Company’s financial record profits. Since 2012, SWA shareholders and executives have been profiting off their returns from stock repurchases and dividends while our members have not received improvements in wages, benefits, or compensation that reflect the Company’s strong financial stance. Instead of recognizing our role in the Company’s success and negotiating accordingly, the Company threatens job security by increasing the outsourcing of work to outside aircraft maintenance vendors.
Gary Kelly boasts, “When the Company does well, the employees do even better.” Contradictory to the message the airline touts to the flying American public priding themselves on taking care of their employees, AMT wages and benefits have NOT gotten better. The Company’s profits before people at all costs approach is the driving force behind threatened job security, outsourcing increases, and using attrition to lower the aircraft-to-AMT ratio. The fractured culture in the workplace is a direct effect of this type of disrespect for the AMT. These parodies are evident by an eroded working relationship with Tech-Ops management and the recently documented degradation of safety culture for its employees. Our members are direct contributors to SWA’s success, so why is it that Gary Kelly does not take care of the AMTs who have been without improvements for 1,988 days?
Gary Kelly states the Company was using the profits to buy new planes, upgrade its technology, and reward shareholders, and the Company has publicly projected to have a future fleet fringing about 1,000 with new orders. Our goal and commitment is to help SWA by taking care of the customer, maintaining the competitive advantage, and contributing to the record profits by producing a safe and reliable product. We AMTs are a crucial part of the Company’s overall success.