There is a dilemma mark at the conclude of that headline for the reason that solutions from Southwest Airways seem to be to be conflicting and/or disputed. Why did the airline undergo cancellations of about 1,800 flights this weekend? Was it temperature-associated and because of to air visitors manage difficulties, as the airline says, or was it most likely thanks to Southwest pilots doing a mini labor strike identified as a”sick out” as a protest more than plans to impose a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on all Southwest staff? The union symbolizing the pilots states no these types of protest happened, but the issue definitely has no fantastic clarification on both facet of the equation.
The broad selection of canceled flights, coupled with a lawsuit submitted in opposition to Southwest by the union symbolizing their pilots, has people wondering whether the pilots themselves are trying to flex some muscle mass in their battle versus mandatory vaccination:
Airline insiders and conservatives are thinking if the cancellations are section of a “sick out” in response to the vaccine policy.
Southwest’s pilots’ union claimed the cancellations were being not component of a planned labor demonstration.
A lot more than 25% of the airline’s flights had been canceled on Sunday per the FlightAware tracker.
“We can say with self confidence that our pilots are not collaborating in any formal or unofficial position steps,” it reported in a press release. “Our pilots will keep on to defeat SWA management’s poor arranging, as well as any exterior operational troubles.”
As the story notes, Southwest is blaming poor weather conditions and air website traffic manage problems, but no other airlines noted similar or equivalent challenges. This begs the question of what actually took place above the weekend and why Southwest is so bent on mandating vaccinations on their workforce when a sizable selection of their staff members evidently don’t want to accept it?
The a single detail that the airline and the pilots affiliation concur on, at the very least in general public, is that their pilots did not deliberately participate in a widespread “sick out” to cause flight delays and disrupts for 1000’s of travelers:
The disparity in between Southwest’s operation and other airways fueled speculation on social media that workforce have been calling out sick, with some suggesting it was in protest of a Covid vaccine mandate. Southwest claimed that was not the bring about of the mass flight cancellations.
“It’s inaccurate,” a Southwest spokeswoman stated by e mail. “There’s a great deal of unfounded rumor and speculation circulating.”
The Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation, Southwest pilots’ labor union stated that “we can say with self-confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any formal or unofficial career actions.”
The union did say, even so, that Southwest pilots are stressed to the max, and adding this vaccine mandate on top rated of now-fatigued crews is a negative go for the airline at a single of the worst attainable times heading into a fast paced holiday getaway travel season:
“Make no slip-up about it – owing to months of staffing difficulties and inefficient scheduling practices we have been running at a bigger than normal operational possibility,” the union’s protection committee told users in a publish on Saturday.
It mentioned stories of exhaustion, which demand pilots not to fly, are triple historic norms.
“All of these problems have led to an extra distraction in the cockpit,” it claimed. “This week’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate announcement by the Business only exacerbates the condition.”
Hence why the condition concerning the pilots association and the airline has devolved into a lawsuit in which pilots are looking for a courtroom buy to avoid Southwest from firing pilots that refuse the Covid-19 vaccine:
“The new vaccine mandate unlawfully imposes new situations of work and the new plan threatens termination of any pilot not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021,” the legal filing reported. “Southwest Airlines’ extra new and unilateral modification of the parties’ collective bargaining arrangement is in apparent violation of the RLA.”
Southwest established the deadline on Oct. 4 underneath a federal vaccination mandate for workforce of companies holding contracts with the U.S. federal government. Staff can search for health-related or religious exemptions. The union represents 9,000 Southwest pilots.
Probably not all 9,000 pilots represented by the affiliation have refused the vaccine, but plenty of of them will have to be fighting it that the union has taken this posture towards the airline.
The bottom line right here is that the condition for Southwest Airways in relation to flight cancellations during the future getaway journey year will most likely go on having even worse, specially if the company proceeds with firing personnel, together with pilots, that refuse to be vaccinated by the company’s deadline.
If you are a Southwest ticket holder planning to travel in the coming months, much better observe the information closely and subsequent this tale considering that it could get a great deal worse right before it will get greater for an sector continue to recovering from the plague of Covid-relevant travel constraints.
The loser, in this case, is the traveling community which ought to contend with labor disputes, Covid journey prerequisites, and airline crews undertaking the very best they can under the tough situation becoming designed all-around them.
Thank your pilots and flight attendants, they’re stressed and they want some encouragement.