April 1, 2020
With the ever changing way of life we all are experiencing we want to give our members an update on issues at Southwest Airlines. Should you have any specific concerns or questions, please reach out to your local stewards or your General Chair.
Employee Time Off (ETO) Program
The company has offered ground employees an “enhanced” personal leave of absence program. This is a company program, not something they negotiated with any labor group. While it is not in violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), it does raise the question why our work group is being offered half of what they offered other work groups – that is a question that should be raised to company leadership. Each person needs to make the decision as to whether the ETO program is something in which they participate. Everyone’s situation is unique. You just need to be aware, as with TOWOP, you will not accrue FTOs. The company enhancement allows the accrual of sick and vacation. The other issue is we are not fully aware of the impact of the CARES act and how that will fit into the leave programs. It is too early to determine how that will affect those who take the ETO program.
EComm Work from Home (WFH) Program
Per LOA 4, the company can establish remote work for our CS&S group. All contractual provisions will still apply, all work rules you follow while at work will apply to you if you elect to participate in this program and you still have the right for union representation should you have any needs. You must meet certain criteria, but as long as those conditions exist, the WFH positions will be awarded based on seniority of those in that work group. At this time, it is being only offered to the EComm desk. The company will evaluate any expansion of the program. This is for a limited time to assist in the social distancing requirements in our centers.
Flight Schedule Changes and Work Schedule Adjustments
Many of our stations are experiencing significant reduction in flight activity, as the company adjusts their schedules due to flight loads and restrictions. In response to those changes, many stations are looking at changing scheduling of staff. Our General Chairs are working with local management on a case by case basis on all changes.
As was reported earlier this month, we were unable to reach an agreement during our first session held with the National Mediation Board assisting those talks. At this time, the mediator has been in regular contact with both the Union and the Company, with tentative dates scheduled in May. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic being in flux, we are unsure if those dates will come to fruition.
Some members raised the concern that by not having a new agreement, we are at a greater risk of the company just taking items from the contract. There is no truth to that concern. Under the Railway Labor Act, airline contracts do not expire, but continue in full force until a new agreement is reached. Any changes must be negotiated AND approved by the membership. At this time, the company has not reached out to any labor group and asked for concessions. Again, what impact the CARES act has on this is till to be seen, but one major change in the approved CARE act over the original version was the original version allowed/required companies to go to their labor groups to get concessions in order to get government funding. The version signed by the President does not have that requirement.
In closing, these are trying times for all of us. We will keep you updated on changes as they come. Keep updated by signing up for email updates on our website www.iamdl142.org. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your steward or General Chair. Stay safe!