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IPFS News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

Southwest Pilots Vote to Authorize Strike Ahead of Busy Summer Travel Season

•,by Cristina Laila

Just in time for the busy summer travel season!

Pilots are pushing for pay raises and better schedules in their ongoing contract negotiations, the union said.

"The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point," Casey Murray, the president of Southwest's union, said in a statement. "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."

Murray continued, "Today, our Pilots have empowered our Negotiating Committee Chair, Captain Jody Reven, to petition the National Mediation Board to release us to self-help imminently at which time we will follow the process set forth by the Railway Labor Act and continue toward a strike. 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. 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."

The airliner insisted they are staffed up and prepared for summer travel.

The Associated Press reported:

Pilots at Southwest Airlines voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, their union said Thursday, a move that is unlikely to lead to a walkout in the near future but is designed to put more pressure on the airline during contract negotiations.

The union said 99% of members who took part voted to authorize a strike, and turnout was 98%.

Southwest said the vote has no effect on its operations.

"We are staffed and prepared to welcome travelers for their summer travel plans," the airline said in a statement.

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