DALLAS, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of uniformed pilots from the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) lined the streets near the Orleans Hotel & Casino today in protest of the lack of progress toward a new contract after four years of negotiations. Southwest Airlines held an employee rally inside the Orleans Arena today to discuss company performance, business plans and future goals.
"Las Vegas is one of Southwest's top destinations and home base to many of our frustrated pilots," said SWAPA President, Captain Jon Weaks. "We are taking the opportunity today to show the residents of Las Vegas, the traveling public, other employee groups and Southwest management that four years is far too long to negotiate during times of record-setting profits. Now is the opportunity to put employees first."
The pilot contract became amendable September 1, 2012 and negotiations began six months prior to that. Eighty-five percent of domestic travel is completed by four major domestic carriers, including Southwest Airlines. Of that domestic travel, 25 percent is flown by a Southwest Airlines pilot. The pilots believe they should have a contract that is commensurate with their peers given the domestic landscape and current economic climate of the airline.
"Today's company event at the Orleans Arena is one that touts the famous "culture" of Southwest Airlines," continued Captain Weaks. "SWAPA believes this culture of putting employees first no longer exists, but its return is key to recruiting the best qualified pilots. We want to ensure that the pilot contract at SWA is beyond merely competitive with other airlines and makes Southwest the destination of choice for the next generation of aviators."
SWAPA and Southwest Airlines are currently in federal mediation, which allows a government-assigned mediator to assist in talks. The two sides have yet to meet formally in 2016, but are currently scheduled to resume negotiations in late March.
Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 8,300 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association, visit www.swapa.org.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association