December 3, 2020
This morning the Union was advised by Southwest Airlines that they are going forward with their plan on furloughing Customer Service Agents, Customer Sales and Support and Source of Support employees. Today, the company is issuing WARN notices to those who the company says will be furloughed and will also issue “potential Impact” notices to those who they say COULD be impacted by those who are furloughed, if furloughed employees exercise seniority.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) offers: “protection to workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. Advance notice provides workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain alternative jobs and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to successfully compete in the job market. WARN also provides for notice to State dislocated worker units so that dislocated worker assistance can be promptly provided.”
Southwest Airlines is required by law to issue these letters if there is a possibility of a mass layoff. The issuance of WARN letters does not mean that there absolutely will be a layoff and a WARN letter issued to you does not mean that you absolutely will be laid off. Additionally, an employee could be laid off that did not receive a WARN notice.
The Union feels this action by the company is reprehensible! Our members have been giving concessions since December 2018 and continue to give every pay day they go without raises. While other groups are being offered short term concessions and a snap back to where they were at the end of a period, our group is being treated much differently. There is no snap back offered to our group. The additional demands from the company are permanent, open for future negotiations. We know how that works – once they are taken, they will never be restored.
The company is now planning on furloughing you — the dedicated employees, who worked during the pandemic, putting themselves at risk, to help your passengers. In addition, the company continues their plan to expand service to new stations, utilizing vendors to do the work the furloughed employees could perform.
It is time for the company to stop playing games with people’s lives – their employee’s lives! This action by the company should send a very clear message to everyone – the LUV is gone at Southwest Airlines. The only concern this company has is for the dollar and for their shareholders. Why else would they refuse the government money and decide to furlough their own employees? This money could have sustained thousands of jobs for months, but instead, the Company chose to pay themselves and their shareholders instead of keeping you working. Is that a sign of LUV? I think NOT!