Southwest Airline’s aircraft maintenance technician’s union is asking the National Mediation Board to provide assistance in the ongoing contract talks between the union and the airline. The discussions began nearly three years ago and the union is seeking mediation to speed up the process.
Union leaders sent a letter to Southwest executives stating, “… we anticipated that we would reach a tentative agreement and the negotiations would conclude in a reasonable timeframe, especially in light of the unprecedented profits being enjoyed by Southwest Airlines, which our members play a significant role in achieving. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.”
Southwest Airlines publicly responded, stating they are happy to continue negotiations and work with a mediator. They believe the union has been unwilling to negotiate in good faith and that mechanics already have an industry-leading agreement that will still be the case once the negotiations are settled.
The statement went on to state that the airline in concerned about fairness and that it wants employees to have solid futures and the company an opportunity to grow and remain competitive.
The airline recently reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with its flight attendant union that will apply to 12,000 flight attendants, should they vote to approve it in the near future.
The mechanic’s contract was in place until August of 2012. The union represents 2100 aircraft mechanics at Southwest. Southwest is the world’s largest budget airline carrier. The airline employs approximately 46,000 people and operates more than 3,400 flights each day. It currently offers scheduled service to 93 destinations in 41 states, Puerto Rico and abroad.