Published 19 Sep, 2012
M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Jamie Horwitz
Southwest Ground Workers File for Federal Mediation
DALLAS –Transport Workers Union Local 555, representing 8,500 Southwest Airlines ramp, operations, provisioning and freight agents, informed Southwest Airlines on September 11, 2012 of the decision to file for federal mediation with the National Mediation Board as provided for in the Railway Labor Act.
After 14 months of negotiations, almost no progress has been made in reaching an agreement. The current collective bargaining agreement was amendable on July 1, 2011 and the first negotiating session took place on July 12, 2011.
TWU Local 555 President Charles Cerf said, “This development in our contract negotiations is very disappointing. Despite the highest second quarter profit in the history of Southwest Airlines, Southwest has proposed changes in our collective bargaining agreement which are concessionary in nature and entirely unacceptable to our members. The changes include outsourcing jobs, increasing part-time workers, and reducing medical and on the job injury benefits in addition to no structural pay increases. It appears that Southwest may be attempting to use other airlines’ bankruptcies to bolster their need to lower costs and squeeze frontline employees. TWU Local 555 members contribute significantly to the success of Southwest Airlines, and this new approach to labor is appalling to many career employees who care about our customers and the success of our airline. We are hopeful that a federal mediator can assist us in reaching a fair agreement.”
TWU Local 555 is an affiliate of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the AFL-CIO. In addition to ground workers, TWU also represents flight attendants, flight dispatchers and flight crew instructors at Southwest Airlines. Across the nation, TWU represents 200,000 workers and retirees primarily employed in public transportation, rail and aviation.