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Southwest Airlines pilots’ union denounces VP of Labor Relations promotion

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) today responded to the leadership structure announcement by Southwest Airlines in which the company named Tom Nealon as president, among other promot

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) today responded to the leadership structure announcement by Southwest Airlines in which the company named Tom Nealon as president, among other promotions.

Representing more than 8,500 pilots, SWAPA relies on key relationships in upper management, both as frontline operational leaders and as the collective bargaining unit for pilot labor at Southwest.


“We are excited by and congratulate Mr. Nealon on his promotion to president. We will certainly give him the opportunity to regain the trust of our pilots and look forward to a fresh start and open dialogue,” said Captain Jon Weaks, SWAPA President. “His promotion acknowledges Southwest’s information technology problems and further validates our previous vote of no confidence. We feel his expertise will provide the necessary leadership to hopefully address these and the many other problems Southwest Airlines faces. SWAPA looks forward to Mr. Nealon making an honest assessment of those in senior leadership roles and holding them accountable.”

Weaks continued, “Unfortunately, the promotion of Russell McCrady to Vice President of Labor Relations is a direct attack on labor. It further demonstrates that Southwest Airlines’ upper management is tone deaf and disingenuous in their previously stated goal of trying to begin to regain the trust of the pilots. Mr. McCrady holds zero credibility with the pilot group and his promotion is a poorer decision than the hiring of former VP of Labor, Randy Babbitt. Mr. McCrady is not trusted by SWAPA and we have absolutely no faith in his ability to do his job. One of Mr. Nealon’s first tests will be how he handles this situation.”