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Hundreds of Southwest & American Airlines Employees Test Positive For COVID-19
Hundreds of employees from Southwest and American Airlines have tested positive for COVID-19 and that number is expected to grow, according to information released by the companies’ unions.
At least 100 American Airlines flight attendants and approximately 600 Southwest employees have tested positive for COVID-19, their unions say.
Officials from both companies said they are working closely with public health officials to evaluate their health and safety measures.
American Airlines has roughly 25,000 flight attendants, which means that less than 1% have tested positive for the virus.
TWU Local 556, the union for Southwest Airlines flight attendants, confirmed with WFAA that at least 600 Southwest employees have tested positive.
Southwest, however, denies that number, stating that “far less than 1 percent” of the company’s 60,000 employees have tested positive.
“Make those numbers public so that workers can make decisions,” Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU 556 said. “I’m concerned about the flight attendants that I represent.”
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said they expect that the number of positive tests among flight attendants “will increase in the following days and weeks.”
Meanwhile, TWU 665 sent a letter to FAA and OSHA outlining their concerns for workers’ health and safety.
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are jointly responsible for the safety and health of airline passengers and crews,” the letter reads. “Given the authority, both agencies have with regard to ensuring the health and safety of aircraft cabin crewmembers, we are urging you to act in concert to swiftly address ongoing concerns with regards to the current public health crisis.”
One primary issue the union wants to have addressed is the cleanliness of the plane. The union is asking that planes be cleaned in between each flight as opposed to just at night and providing proper protective gloves and masks to flight attendants.
Southwest Airlines released a statement regarding the union’s concerns:
“The safety and well-being of Southwest’s Employees and Customers is our uncompromising priority, and Southwest continues to implement measures to enhance our aircraft cabins, airport locations, and work centers while following all CDC guidelines during this unprecedented time.”