Southwest Airlines Pilots Vote To Strike

Southwest Airlines Pilots Vote To Strike

DALLAS – Pilots at Southwest Airlines (WN), the world’s largest low-cost carrier, have voted to strike. Yesterday, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) issued a press release explaining how it will “follow the process set forth by the Railway Labor Act and continue toward a strike.”

WN and the SWAPA have been in talks since October 2022, facilitated by National Mediation Board mediators. However, no progress appears to have been made since then. SWAPA said in January that it would allow its members to vote on industrial action, with pilots permitted to cast votes during the month of May.

Following a resounding response, voting closed early, with SWAPA indicating that 98% of its members participated, with 99% of voters opting to strike. Potential strike dates are expected to be scheduled during the summer and autumn.

SWAPA is one of the largest unions that represents pilots from a single carrier. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways.

Powerful Message

SWAPA President Casey Murray said, “We want our passengers to understand that we do not take this path lightly. We want our customers to be prepared for the path ahead and make arrangements on other carriers so that their plans through the summer and fall are not disrupted.”

Many WN employees have claimed that the airline has neglected to invest in upgrading critical computer infrastructure that manages fleet utilization and crew rostering. The disruption caused by severe weather in December last year left the carrier cancelling swathes of flights after it was reported that existing computer systems collapsed.

“Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers,” said Murray. SWAPA was founded in 1978 and today represents over 10,000 SW pilots who operate a fleet of roughly 800 Boeing 737 aircraft.

Featured image: WN operates the largest Boeing 737 fleet in the world. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Aviation author and commercial pilot based in the UK, with close to twenty years in the industry.

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