The Southwest Airline pilots are threatening to go on strike over a number of key issues with their salary not the only problem.
Southwest Airlines and the Southwest Airline pilots have been in federal mediation over a new contract and has been unable to come to the terms. Both sides have been negotiating for about 3 and 1/2 years with no actual end in sight.
According to The Street, the deals should set the basic guidelines for the Southwest Airline pilots and the airline, however no agreement has been reached, and the Southwest Airline Pilots Association has asked to be released from the mediation.
The request of the Southwest Airline Pilots was denied, which legally kept the Southwest Airline pilots from going on strike. However, that does not mean that an agreement is near or that actions with work would not take place.
The Southwest Airline pilots cannot go into strike but they could hold sickouts, which are quasi-legal way to disrupt the airline. The Southwest Airline pilots union has not threatened to do that, but it has gone on the offensive to make clear that the wages are not the key issue that is preventing a deal between the two parties.
Captain Casey Murray, the Southwest Airline pilots union president stated in a recent interview with Aviation Daily that salary was not the core issue that is being debated.
The union has made it clear that the quality of life issues for the members, which believes that this will benefit the members, are the core issues that is preventing a deal. That makes sense as Delta, United, and American Airlines deals have set the framework for the pay related part of Southwest’s deal.
You may ask how much do Southwest pilots make? Well, the contract with the airlines and their pilots is not public; they do not share their wage scale openly, and pilots generally have kept numbers pretty close to the vest. That likely means that that are well paid and get roughly a 40% increase when a new deal is reached, basing on the terms of the United, Delta, and American Airline deals.