Published 20 Feb, 2014
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M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
For Immediate Release – Feb 18, 2014
Patti Adams, 501-519-2743 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535 Roger.Kerson@gmail.com
Advisory for Feb 20th
Southwest Airlines Workers to Conduct Informational Picketing at Company Meeting in Phoenix
Ground Workers Ask: Where’s the LUV?
DALLAS – Members of Transport Workers Union 555 will conduct informational picketing when CEO Gary Kelly comes to Phoenix to meet with employees on February 20th. Workers are concerned about demands by Southwest Airlines that will compromise customer service and impose unnecessary concessions on workers after the company posted $754 million in profits in 2013.
Who: Members of TWU 555, Ground Workers at Southwest Airlines and TWU Local 556, Flight Attendants at Southwest Airlines
What: Informational picketing before Southwest CEO Gary Kelly’s “Message to the Field”
When: Thursday, February 20, 2014 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm (Mountain Time)
Where: Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington Street, Phoenix
“Southwest is a company that’s known for positive labor relations and mutual respect,” said Charles Cerf, president of TWU Local 555, representing ground crew workers at Southwest Airlines, including ramp, operations, provisioning and freight agents. “Working together is the ‘secret recipe’ that has created an outstanding record of customer service and led to 40 straight years of profitability. That’s a record no other airline can match.”
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“We all used to love working at the “LUV” airline, but not anymore,” said Cerf. “The question Gary Kelly should answer while he’s in Phoenix is, why mess with success? Why is Southwest changing direction and turning its back on workers who are dedicated to the company and its customers?”
TWU Local 555 has been in negotiations with Southwest for a new contract since July of 2011, with little progress during the past two and half years. A major sticking point in negotiations, says Cerf, is company demands which will negatively impact customer service.
“We know that keeping customers on our planes is the best guarantee of our job security,” said Cerf. “That’s why we don’t understand why the company wants the right to increase the use of temporary contract workers, who will not have the training, experience and long-term commitment necessary to deliver the high quality customer service that Southwest customers have every right to expect. They are also demanding that we handle all the extra traffic from the ‘Bags Fly Free’ promotion, on larger planes, with no extra staffing. That’s no way to operate in a business that demands on-time performance.”
Many Southwest ground workers have not had a base pay raise since 2010. After earning more than $750 million in profits in 2013, Southwest is offering no pay raise while demanding concessions from ground crew workers, including cutbacks retiree health care, sick hours and sick days.
“Our guys say, ‘Bags Fly Free Because of Me,’” said Cerf. “We’re committed to serving our customers and we don’t want to break the bank. But it’s simple fairness that front-line workers deserve a contract that ensures a solid future for them and their families. Herb Kelleher explained that employees come first, then they treat the customers well so customers keep coming back, which pleases the stockholders¬. We agree with this philosophy.”
TWU Local 555 is a local union of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), representing some 10,000 ground crew workers at Southwest Airlines.
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