0 min left

Unions Want Southwest CEO Removed After IT Outage

Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association and Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association call for ouster of airline leadership.

Following a computer glitch that cancelled over 2,300 flights and stranded thousands of passengers, two of Southwest Airlines’ unions are calling for the resignation of chief executive Gary Kelly and chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven. In matching votes, both the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association(SWAPA) and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) submitted a vote of “No Confidence” against the leadership after the router failure that took place in July 2016.

The SWAPA voted unanimously against Kelly and Van de Ven, with all 20 members of the board of directors submitting a negative vote. In their statement, the union noted “critically outdated” technology systems and “chaotic crew scheduling” in their demand for new leadership.

“The cultural foundation and historical success of Southwest Airlines is based on the principles of exceptional care for employees and positively outrageous customer service,” SWAPA president Cpt. Jon Weaks said in a statement. “Senior executives at Southwest Airlines have prioritized short-term stock performance at the expense of long-term investment in people and infrastructure, resulting in the highest level of labor strife and dissatisfaction among frontline employees in the history of Southwest Airlines.”

Citing similar reasons, the vote of “No Confidence” was echoed by the AMFA National Executive Council. The union accused the airline of putting “profits over people,” which lead to the widespread outage and cancellations of July.

“The technology failure was the final straw for our members,” AMFA national director Louie Key said in a statement. “The current leadership has dragged out our contract negotiations for nearly four years, eroded the company culture that employees hold dear, and continued to put Band-Aids on its operational systems rather than invest in company upgrades.”

Speaking to The Dallas Morning News, Kelly equated the router failure to “a thousand-year-flood.” In a statement to the Associated Press, the airline dismissed the “No Confidence” votes as a contract bargaining maneuver.

“Their maneuvering is not about our leaders. It’s not about ‘IT infrastructure,'” Randy Babbitt, senior vice president for labor relations at Southwest, said in a statement. “This is about the union’s approach to contract discussions and its attempt to gain leverage in negotiations.”

[Photo: Boeing]

Comments are Closed.
Irpworks August 3, 2016

Dear unions, Profits must come first in the sense that without such, and the ability to recapitalize for new planes and the like, there will be no jobs for "people".