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Southwest Airline pilots vote to authorize strike action by overwhelming margin

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The majority of Southwest Airlines pilots reportedly voted to authorize strike action.

On May 12, 2023, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) declared that the vote had ended early with 99% approval and 98% participation.

Although the poll was supposed to last through May, it was finished early because to the prompt responses from practically all Southwest pilots.

The union says “operational disasters and the lack of progress after three-plus years of stagnant negotiations” are responsible for the unrest among pilots.

“This is a historic day, not only for our pilots but for Southwest Airlines,” said SWAPA president Casey Murray. “The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point. Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers.”

It is acknowledged that strikes are not imminent and that the National Mediation Board must approve any strike action before it can take place.

“We want our passengers to understand that we do not take this path lightly and are disheartened that the LUV airline has gotten so far away from the values set forth by Herb Kelleher,” Murray added. “We want our customers to be prepared for the path ahead and make arrangements on other carriers so that their plans through the summer and fall are not disrupted.”

Between December 21 and December 31, 2022, Southwest Airlines’ operations went into meltdown.

After severe weather, the carrier’s operations found it difficult to recover, which resulted in the cancellation of more than 16,700 flights over the course of 10 days.

Following a survey by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents 15,000 of the airline’s pilots, American Airlines pilots recently voted resoundingly in favor of prospective strike action.

Voting on strike authorization started on April 1 and closed on April 30 at midnight (CT).

More than 99% of the APA membership voted in favor of authorizing a strike, with participation exceeding 96%.

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