Southwest Airways has warned greater than 6,800 workers of potential layoffs because it reported “lower than significant progress” in negotiations with a number of of its workers’ unions.
The warnings, a requirement beneath the Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, mentioned Southwest would implement involuntary furloughs in mid-March or early April except the unions authorised the agreements, which embody short-term pay cuts to save lots of prices, or except additional federal payroll help assist is authorised. The workers included 1,500 flight attendants, greater than 1,200 pilots, almost 1,200 customer support brokers and greater than 2,500 ramp, provisioning, operations and cargo brokers.
“We now have been engaged with our unions since early October searching for short-term value reductions to assist offset over $1 billion of overstaffing prices projected for 2021,” Southwest VP of labor relations Russell McCrady mentioned in an announcement. “We’re keen to proceed negotiations rapidly to protect jobs if we will obtain the help that enables Southwest to fight the continuing financial challenges created by the decline in demand for air journey.”
A few of Southwest’s rivals, together with United Airways and American Airways, have already got undergone workforce reductions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, however Southwest lengthy has boasted of getting by no means carried out involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its historical past. Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation president Jon Weaks within the video message referred to as the WARN notices a “unhappy milestone” within the airline’s historical past.
“[The pilot’s union] has provided a number of options that fulfill [Southwest CEO Gary] Kelly’s demand for financial savings, however labor relations has rejected every of them,” Weaks mentioned. “Our negotiating committee stays engaged in providing data-driven options to the corporate’s very short-term issues and choices that defend all of our pilots’ careers.”
Southwest has reached agreements with its dispatch and meteorology workgroups that embody furlough protections by the tip of 2021, based on the provider.