Greater than 400 Southwest mechanics get furlough warnings as cost-cutting talks falter


A chicken flies by within the foreground as a Southwest Airways jet is available in for a touchdown at McCarran Worldwide Airport on Could 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Photos

Greater than 400 Southwest Airlines mechanics and technicians, about 15% of the work group, have obtained notices warning them about potential furloughs, the service mentioned Wednesday.

Southwest has requested workers to take 10% pay cuts to keep away from furloughs, which might be the primary within the Dallas airline’s practically 50 years of flying. Southwest warned 42 materials specialists about doable furlough earlier this month.

The talks have raised tensions with labor unions on the airline. The mechanics’ union, the Plane Mechanics Fraternal Affiliation, mentioned in a observe to members Wednesday that it was stunned by the furlough warnings. It additionally slammed the corporate for turning down federal loans as a result of the phrases have been too onerous.

“This try and stress our members into accepting unfair wage decreases, whereas administration turns down authorities loans as a result of they refused to droop shareholder dividends and inventory repurchases — loans that each one the opposite main airways accepted — makes this motion unconscionable in addition to unlawful,” Bret Oestreich, nationwide director of AMFA mentioned in a press release.

U.S. airways have furloughed greater than 30,000 staff as they battle from weak demand within the coronavirus pandemic — a disaster executives say is the worst of their historical past. Together with buyouts and different voluntary departures, the trade will shed the equal of some 90,000 workers by the tip of 2020, in line with Airways for America, a commerce group that represents most U.S. carriers.

Southwest mentioned it has despatched 403 mechanics and technicians federally mandated notices warning them that their jobs are in danger. The involuntary cuts may take impact as early as Jan. 25.

“We’re not closing the door to additional discussions, however we want agreements to be reached to assist us save these workers’ jobs and tackle the extraordinarily difficult financial circumstances we face,” mentioned Russell McCrady, vp of labor relations at Southwest.

The corporate mentioned it plans to proceed talks with the union, in line with a memo to workers, which was seen by CNBC.

Negotiations are ongoing with Southwest Airways pilots and flight attendants, however unions for each teams have bristled over a pressure majeure clause the corporate proposed, which the labor teams say threatens job safety.

Correction: An earlier model of this story incorrectly recognized the sender of a memo to staff.