If you were planning to book a flight with Southwest Airlines in the near future, you might want to think twice.
The airline that carries more domestic passengers than any other is in a nasty dispute with their most powerful union.
And this union is disrupting the travel plans of thousands of Southwest Airlines customers in order to get what they want.
Southwest has declared “an operational emergency,” with double the usual number of planes having been pulled from service by its mechanics.
So far this week, close to 1,000 Southwest flights have been canceled, stranding passengers and forcing customers to cancel business trips, delay vacations and miss weddings and funerals.
The problems suddenly began on February 12th after a contentious negotiating session with the union bosses of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.
The union bosses didn’t get what they wanted. So now they are taking out revenge upon the airline – and its customers.
To justify any union’s existence – and the millions of dollars it collects from members in forced union dues – union bosses are always in a constant state of war against the company that employs its members.
This continual “hate-the-boss” mentality is already counterproductive enough when both sides have equal leverage.
But when the union bosses hold all the leverage, the consequences can be terrible for everyone involved – the company, the customers, and the workers themselves.
Terrible for everyone—except the union bosses who collect all those compulsory dues.
This is especially true in the airline industry where ALL workers are forced to be represented by the union, and ALL workers are forced to pay dues to their union whether they want that “representation” or not.
And the workers who do happen to think it’s dumb and counterproductive to declare war on the folks who sign their paychecks simply have no other options.
It’s either pay up…or you’re fired.
State Right to Work laws, which protect workers in 27 states from being fired for refusing to join a union or pay dues, do not apply to airline workers.
This loophole in state Right to Work laws is, of course, eagerly exploited by greedy airline union bosses.
Think about how powerful an airline’s mechanic union is. These are the guys who fix the planes and determine whether or not they are safe to fly.
If the union bosses’ demands aren’t being met by the airline, they can simply ground the planes until the airline meets their demands.
And what passenger wants to fly on a plane that mechanics deem unsafe to fly? After all, the mechanics would know, right?
Trust me, the union bosses exploit this leverage for all it’s worth.
Southwest’s mechanics’ union is currently all-in on playing the “safety” trump card.
The union’s national director, Bret Oestreich, told the media this week, “Southwest Airline’s scapegoating of its expert Aircraft Maintenance Technicians does not bode well for the airline’s safe operations.”
That sounds like good old-fashioned mafia extortion to me.
“Give us what we want…or 737s might start falling out of the sky.”
Meanwhile, real Southwest customers with real travel plans are suffering, and they are GOING OFF on social media.
One customer posted on Instagram:
Is this why you wanted me to stay here today instead of going home and canceling our flight for no reason with no other flight to go on? I am pregnant and forced to sit on a 8 hr drive now home. You also offered no help and no hotel tonight even though only next flight is tomorrow morning. Southwest you lost a customer and I thought you guys were good.
That’s just one of thousands of complaints from angry passengers.
My guess is that Southwest Airlines isn’t going to endure much more damage to its once sterling reputation. What choice does Southwest have when the union bosses hold all the leverage?
It’s only a matter a time before Southwest folds and gives into the union’s demands.
So get ready for higher fares to pay for whatever it is the union wants.
Meanwhile, I suggest you avoid Southwest Airlines entirely until this is resolved.