Southwest Files Lawsuit Against Its Mechanics’ Union

Mar 1, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Southwest Airlines is making headlines again. The carrier alleged in a lawsuit Thursday that its mechanics’ union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, encouraged its workers to intentionally ground aircraft over minor maintenance issues in order to leverage the plane shortage for labor contract negotiations.

Southwest has been forced to cancel hundreds of February flights as a result of the number of unavailable planes. On average, 20 planes out of Southwest’s Boeing 737 fleet are out of service each day; this past week, Southwest had to ground 45 planes on Tuesday and 51 on Wednesday.

Southwest’s mechanics have been negotiating pay terms with the airline for more than six years, and the relationship between airline and union workers has deteriorated as a result. Most recently, the mechanics shot down a new contract proposal in September because the airline offered a pay increase below their requested amount.

The tension escalated on Feb. 22 when Southwest’s chief legal officer, Mark Shaw, publicly accused a group of approximately 100 mechanics for delaying the majority of the out-of-service planes, stating, “Based on all the information that we have received this week, we believe there is a concerted, ongoing effort by a subset of mechanics at various stations to negatively impact Southwest’s operations by writing up maintenance issues that are not based on safety issues and historical practice.”

AMFA union’s attorney, Nick Granath, responded with a heated public message which stated that Southwest executives were attempting to “hide a degraded maintenance safety culture behind contract negotiations with AMFA. Granath added, “This is deplorable and represents a real danger to your employees and your passengers.”

TPG reached out to both Southwest as well as to AMFA’s attorney for comment, but had not heard back as of the time of this post.

Featured photo by Unsplash.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.