Southwest Airways points first furlough notices as talks with unions stall

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Southwest Airways planes are seen at LAX airport in Los Angeles

By Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) – Southwest Airways (N:) mentioned on Friday it has despatched notices of potential furloughs to 42 elements stock employees after talks with one union group stalled over pay cuts the airline argues it wants from all workers to offset $1 billion in overstaffing prices.

The primary furloughs on the 49-year-old firm would happen in January except the Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters agrees to a deal or Washington passes “a passable” extension of a payroll help program for airways, Southwest mentioned.

An preliminary $25 billion in federal payroll help for airline employees expired in September, prompting tens of hundreds of furloughs throughout the trade after lawmakers did not agree one other COVID-19 financial aid deal earlier than the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

Southwest stays in talks over value financial savings with representatives of different union teams, it mentioned, and left the door open for negotiations to avoid wasting the 42 jobs in danger amongst Teamsters members.

“This isn’t the end result we hoped to realize,” Southwest Vice President of Labor Relations Russell McCrady mentioned in an emailed assertion.

The Teamsters didn’t instantly remark.

Unions symbolize about 83% of roughly 61,000 Southwest workers.

In the meantime, Southwest’s outsourcing of upkeep work to international contractors threatened to return to the fray in discussions with the union representing some 2,700 mechanics, after the 2 sides ended a 7-year contract deadlock in 2019.

The Plane Mechanics Fraternal Affiliation (AMFA) believes contract language protects members from furloughs so long as Southwest is outsourcing upkeep work, its nationwide director Bret Oestreich mentioned on Friday.

AMFA has requested Southwest to offer data on its outsourcing footprint and prices, whereas shifting ahead with discussions on doable cost-savings measures, outdoors of opening the collective bargaining settlement.

Southwest pilots have additionally pushed again on the corporate’s proposal to chop workers’ pay by 10% however stay in talks, as does the flight attendants’ union.

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