United Invincible: TWU International Stands With Southwest Ground Workers

November 20, 2015
CONTACT: Ori Korin (202) 374-6103

United Invincible: TWU International Stands With Southwest Ground Workers
International President Says It’s Time to Change the Way Airlines Bargain

Earlier this week, after TWU Local 555 held a regional union meeting in Southern California to discuss stalled contract negotiations with Southwest Airlines and potential options available to them through the Railway Labor Act, the airline began suspending members of the local and threatening to fire workers in some Southern California cities. The union, which represents ramp workers and other ground crews at airports across the United States, has been in contract negotiations with the company for four and half years, and entered federal mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB) in 2012. Southwest continues to threaten to fire the workers, all of whom secured time off in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement in order to attend the meeting.

TWU International President Harry Lombardo pledged the union’s full support of every member at Southwest Airlines. “In this union, one local’s fight is everyone’s fight. I’m tired of watching the airline industry get rich on the backs of working people. It’s time to fight back,” Lombardo said.

The effort at Southwest is part of the union’s larger strategy to draw the traveling public’s attention to the sad reality of working for some of the country’s largest airlines: stagnant wages, limited benefits and treacherous conditions.

As Lombardo went on to explain, “The rules that govern collective bargaining in the airline industry are broken, plain and simple. Companies are raking in record profits, CEOs are doing better than ever, and air travel has never been more expensive. Yet the people who get up and go to work every day to make sure those flights get off the ground—pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, ground crews, you name it—are struggling to support their families. These airlines have zero incentive to come to the table and bargain in good faith with their workers, and it’s time we change that system. The game is rigged, and I won’t stand by and watch as Southwest Airlines—or any company—continues to exploit the hardworking men and women of this union.”