Southwest Airlines: We hide our compliance issues under the Warrior Spirit

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Just yesterday, eTurboNews reported about Boeing being speechless about the question of safety when flying on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 to Honolulu.

Today, the Transport Workers of America union President, John Samuelsen, reacted to a bombshell report by CBS Morning News in which aircraft maintenance technicians talked about being pressured by management to cover up serious maintenance issues, putting the flying public and flight crews at serious risk.

The letter to Southwest Airlines reads:

Gary Kelly
CEO, Southwest Airlines

Mr. Kelly:

The Transport Workers Union of America (“TWU”) represents nearly 30,000 workers at Southwest Airlines, including over 16,000 Flight Attendants.

The TWU will not stand idly by and allow Southwest Airlines to place our Flight Attendants in jeopardy.

As you are aware, over the last few days CBS News has been airing a series of reports on the coercion of Southwest Airlines Aircraft Maintenance Technicians represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA).

The TWU stands side-by-side with AMFA.

They are the individuals who guarantee the safety of our flight crews and air travelers. I was personally and professionally disgusted by the comments of Southwest Vice President of Maintenance Operations, Landon Nitschke in the CBS story. He described Southwest’s maintenance culture in the following disturbing terms:

“And, you know, sometimes we hide our compliance issues under the Warrior Spirit, right?”

Your company’s acknowledgment that you knowingly hide compliance failures is extremely disturbing and an absolute disgrace.

Even more disturbing and disgraceful were the caviler and dismissive answers given by Southwest executives regarding the company’s attitude toward safety. Southwest Airlines already has a notorious reputation for having the fewest mechanics per aircraft in the industry.

To add insult to injury, you are now demanding the right to have more of your aircraft maintenance work outsourced to foreign countries, which by any objective measure, is less safe. It is time for Southwest Airlines to demonstrate respect their Aircraft Maintenance Technicians by providing them with a fair contract that protects the safety of the airline’s passengers and TWU Flight Attendants.

Efforts to offshore the maintenance and repair of Southwest aircraft is nothing short of a slap in the face to your workers and your customers.

John Samuelsen
President, Transport Workers Union of America

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