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Southwest Airlines Files Lawsuit Against Its Employees Union

November 20, 2015 - Southwest Airlines has filed a lawsuit against its ramp worker's union, the Transport Workers Union which represents over 11,000 ground workers for Southwest. The airline alleges the union was planning a Thanksgiving holiday strike which would affect travel across the United States during the holiday.

Southwest Airlines alleges during a regional union meeting held earlier this week in Southern California, the union was in talks with its members regarding a holiday strike.

The federal lawsuit which was filed yesterday in Dallas, Texas seeks a permanent injunction against the union from authorizing a strike. The suit alleges the union held a “strike preparation summit” that led to an “illegal job action” on Wednesday in which a number of employees called in sick at several California airports.


Greg Puriski, president of Dallas-based TWU Local 555, said on Friday that the union has no plans for a holiday strike. In a press release, Transport Workers Union of America AFL-CIO said "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."



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