April 28, 2020
To our TWU membership at Southwest Airlines:
The TWU International leadership was glad to hear Gary Kelly in his recent video say that he would fight for the livelihoods of our members. We were even more appreciative of the fact that he recognized the workforce as Southwest Airlines most important asset.
Mr. Kelly’s words of encouragement in his video were good to hear and his humility did not go unnoticed. Nor did his video acceptance of the TWU’s suggestions, regarding non-concessionary actions. Those actions would be appropriate at this time, since they do not violate our collective bargaining agreements. However, in the video Gary Kelly asserts that the TWU has been disingenuous regarding the company’s pursuit of TWU contract concessions. Plain and simple, an “ask” for concessions did occur. Perhaps some of Gary Kelly’s underlings were overly ambitious and did so without his authorization? Or maybe there is some other confusion which is unknown to us, but it definitely happened. In fact, it triggered a letter to Southwest whereby the TWU informed them that we are not interested in concessions.
Gary Kelly also talks about the “Southwest Family.” During the current negotiations with our flight attendants, training instructors, dispatchers, meteorologists and previously with our fleet service group, the TWU has very clearly seen how Southwest treats our “TWU family”. In fact, there is a whole lot of clarity. For nearly ten years management has had a chance to show our “TWU family” how much they “luv” us. Unfortunately, during the greatest economic boom in the airline industry’s history, instead of taking care of the “TWU family”, management often boasted about profitability and took care of their corporate leadership. Now they seem both unprepared and unable to explain where the billions in record profits over that time disappeared to?
Southwest is asking that TWU family members step up and sacrifice, yet they willfully chose not to share their fruitful bounty with our “TWU family” during the best of times. Gary Kelly has a duty to live up to his words and take every other available action before coming to TWU to ask for a single concession from our groups, engaged in negotiations. The TWU abided by our contracts in the best of times, while the airline thrived and made enormous profits. The TWU now expects the airline to live up to their end of the bargain in these tumultuous times. Simply put, that means strictly adhering to the labor contracts Southwest Airlines has entered into with the TWU.