Photo Credit: Emmanuel Aguirre
Southwest Airlines Employees Threatening To Protest, Citing Poor Working Conditions
Like most airlines, Southwest Airlines employees are suffering greatly from the impact of COVID-19 on air travel. Now that airlines are fully-operating with an influx of international and U.S. tourists, there have been many hiccups with airlines rebounding.
According to ABC News, the airline “had canceled 170 flights and delayed 852 others, the most of any U.S. airline. At the same time, United had 31 cancellations, while Delta had four.”
With Southwest Airlines experiencing massive damages to their reputation during the pandemic, the internal staff have just been fed up with the company’s infrastructures and mistreatment of their hospitality employees.
Pilots, flight attendants, and other leading Southwest Airlines employees are contemplating going on strike or picketing against the company because of how badly it has rebounded to the influx of air-travel. The airline, itself, experienced thousands of flight cancellations during this busy season, which meant its staff had to work longer overtime hours that teeter on exploitation— in terms of hour maximums under federal law.
Lyn Montgomery, president of Southwest’s workers union, told ABC News, “We’re asking that additional flights not be added to the schedule until the company can handle the flight schedules that we currently have. We all want to get back to the pre-pandemic days, but we have to be able to handle things the way they are right now, the way things are still with the pandemic.”
Montgomery is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and is advocating for the company to see their staff being over-worked and allowing their staff to have a more regulated schedule and better work environment.
The major issue is that flight employees will arrive at another destination city and Southwest won’t compensate or provide temporary accommodations and food for their travels, leaving staff members exhausted.
Following the string of violence against flight attendants and staff, Southwest has increased their referral bonuses for employees to be incentivized to recommend their friends or family members. The amount of shifts that flight attendants need to work, compared to how low-staffed Southwest Airlines has become, has forced current employees to take longer shifts.
Threats have been made to picket Southwest Airlines during Thanksgiving if working conditions don’t improve over the coming weeks and months.