October 8, 2020
To All AMFA Members at Southwest Airlines:
Today, October 8, 2020, your Airline Representatives (ALR) and legal counsel attended an online meeting with the Company at the request of Southwest Airlines (SWA). As you may have seen or heard from Gary Kelly this week, SWA is seeking concessions from its union-represented employees, thus prompting today’s meeting. We denied the Company’s request to sign non-disclosure agreements prior to this meeting that request because you – as AMFA members and Southwest employees -- deserve to know what is going on, especially when the Company seeks to extract concessions from your contracts.
The Company presented a formal request of a ten percent (10%) reduction to base wages and premiums for every group AMFA represents at SWA, to begin January 1, 2021, and run through the entire year. In addition, any step or annual raises would be frozen during that same period. The Company indicated, if accepted, it would not furlough any AMFA member or seek additional concessions. Unfortunately, that promise rang hollow when it was immediately qualified with “barring unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances.”
AMFA is willing to engage in discussions with the Company aimed to identify possible cost saving measures that do not require concessions to our contracts, which have been earned by your sweat equity over many years at SWA. The Company continues to outsource large amounts of your work to vendors; therefore, we should focus on reducing costs by bringing that work back to the Southwest family where our members stand ready, willing, and able to show just how productive we are. Collaborative solutions such as these will prove more valuable than empty asks for fixed percentage reductions to our compensation.
Yesterday, Gary Kelly sent a letter to union representatives in which he, prior to formally requesting concessions, attempted to blame the unions for any WARN Act notices he may decide to send. Mr. Kelly asked the unions to keep concession negotiations “simple, move swiftly, and give our People a chance to vote.” He went on to say, “absent that, you are choosing to send WARN notices to our People on November 1.” It is the CEO and his senior management that will decide whether or not to send Southwest employees WARN Act Notices, not the respective unions.
We are not interested in concessions to our contracts. We will, however, engage with the Company to consider cost saving measures while protecting your contracts in the face of requests for concessions. We will defend and enforce all three AMFA contracts at SWA, which each contain language restricting any reduction in force of our members while Southwest continues to outsource your work. The solidarity of our members, especially during these times, is our strength.
Your AMFA–SWA Airline Representatives