In a historic first, flight attendants resoundingly grant board authorization to strike.
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#556strikesback–Southwest Airlines flight attendants have endured more than five years without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with Southwest Airlines, and they have had enough. Today, TWU Local 556, the union of Southwest Airlines flight attendants, announced results of members’ strike authorization vote. More than 98 percent of voting members authorized the TWU Local 556 Executive Board to call for a strike against Southwest Airlines.
This is the first time in the union’s history that flight attendants have taken a vote to authorize a strike against Southwest Airlines, and the results were resounding.
“Equity, equality and respect – those are the non-negotiables for our members,” Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556 and a career flight attendant, said. “Pay that sets a new industry standard is a necessity, absolutely, but so is our personhood being valued just as highly as that of management and other employees here at Southwest Airlines.”
Scheduling for on-call rotations, appropriate compensation for ground time, improved commuter policies, and the ability to have a safe place to sleep on overnights are among the contract improvements flight attendants need to see in their new contract, Montgomery explained.
Recent posts by flight attendants and TWU Local 556 contain the phrase: “Deceived. Devalued. Disrespected,” expressing the frustration that flight attendants have with members of management.
“When you are told at the negotiating table that certain work rule changes are off-limits and then you grant them to another workgroup, it’s clear that you do not value employees equally,” Montgomery said. “This is not just about job roles; at this point, our fight is about valuing our very personhood. Our employer has failed to implement even no-cost work rule changes that would improve our quality of life. While we battle for our earned value professionally, we find that we also fight to be valued as people. Even that seems up in the air with Southwest Airlines management today.”
Conducting a strike authorization vote is an important step toward striking, as outlined by Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act. If TWU Local 556 and Southwest Airlines cannot reach an agreement in federal mediation, the union could request to be released into a thirty-day cooling-off period, after which 21,000+ Southwest Airlines flight attendants would be free to strike the largest domestic carrier.
About TWU Local 556
The Transport Workers Union of America Local 556 (TWU Local 556) represents more than 21,000 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines. The mission of TWU Local 556, through collective bargaining, is to provide adequate wages, retirement, and safe working conditions for its members. The union promotes legislation and engages in other activities to safeguard the economic security and social welfare of working people, to protect each member from unjust discipline and to promote the well-being and continued employment of all members. www.twu556.org