Southwest Airlines

October 11, 2021

… our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the union representing Southwest pilots, on nearly a quarter of all scheduled flights cancelled this weekend.
  • Southwest Airlines blamed challenges such as air traffic control and weather; the union blamed “management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges …”
  • While other carriers had few disruptions, more than 1,800 Southwest flights were cancelled this weekend. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pushed back on claims of significant weather or air traffic control disruptions.
  • Southwest just announced a vaccine requirement for employees, due to having federal government contracts (the federal gov’t is requiring contract workers to be vaccinated) – and the pilots’ union is suing in court.
  • Some reports suggested an orchestrated effort at disruption to protest the vaccine requirement, but so far, not one group (transport workers, flight attendants, or pilots) have suggested on the record that’s the case. Here’s what the head of the pilots’ union released in a statement: “There are false claims of job actions by Southwest Pilots currently gaining traction on social media and making their way into mainstream news. I can say with certainty that there are no work slowdowns or sickouts either related to the recent mandatory vaccine mandate or otherwise.”
  • Why It Matters: Southwest will require all staff to be fully vaccinated by December, raising questions about future delays and disruptions around the busy holiday travel season. The confluence of events also raises questions about how large companies continue to suffer due to the impact of the pandemic – labor shortages, unreliable business and changing protocol/requirements.

Here’s a quick read by CNBC.

Here’s a link to the Southwest pilots’ union website.

by Jenna Lee,