A Tale Of Two Airlines

American Forges a New Cooperative Relationship With Its Mechanics While Southwest Continues Federal Litigation Against Its Own Employees

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American Approach

Prior to the advent of COVID-19, American Airlines sued its aircraft mechanics for an alleged job action. American Airlines successfully obtained a permanent injunction from a federal court. It was well-positioned to also obtain contempt sanctions against its mechanics’ unions based on the alleged continuation of the job action even after issuance of the injunction.

Then COVID-19 put our nation on a war footing. American discontinued its litigation and obtained dissolution of the injunction. American realized, during this time of crisis, labor and management must work together.

The Un-American Approach — Southwest

Prior to the advent of COVID-19, Southwest sued its aircraft mechanics for an alleged job action. The court has thrown out the airline’s demands for injunctive and declaratory relief. What remains of Southwest’s lawsuit is the airline’s claim for money damages against its mechanics’ union and individual employees.

Then COVID-19 put our nation on a war footing. Southwest presses forward with a litigation that threatens to bankrupt its employees. Southwest has applied for government grants financed by the American taxpayers but continues to sue the very employees the federal grants were designed to assist. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly continues to claim “we are all in this together,” though the carrier’s actions prove this to be a hollow sentiment, as it continues with its union busting litigation during a time of crisis both in our industry and at Southwest. Where is the leadership?

Welcome to Southwest — the un-American approach.

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