Posted on: 21 November 2014 by Mark Howells
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) has become the third Southwest Airlines labour group to officially file for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB), the US federal agency which oversees contract negotiations.
Mark Richardson, president of SWAPA, remarked, “This is certainly not a step either side wants to take during negotiations, and certainly not a typical step in the pilot and management relationship at Southwest Airlines.
“Our requests continue to be reasonable so that our highly productive pilots can enjoy marginal improvements in their schedule, pay, and especially retirement – an area where Southwest pilots lag significantly compared to our peers at other airlines,” Richardson continued. “Filing for mediation is the next step in the process toward a new contract. We are trying to avoid the destructive and combative relationships that have plagued our industry.”
SWAPA argues that it is because of the sacrifices of Southwest’s staff that the airline has reached its financial goals, including a return on invested capital of 1%, with Southwest Airlines on track to earn almost $2.5 billion in operating profit for 2014.