Southwest flight attendants to picket over working conditions at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Sep 22, 2022, 8:30 PM
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)...
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — Southwest Airlines flight attendants will picket at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday morning, joining a national coalition demanding improved work conditions.

The picket is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. in Terminal 4 on Level 2, east of Door 28, TWU Local 556 said in a press release.

TWU Local 556 is the union which made a collective bargaining agreement it holds with Southwest Airlines amendable almost four years ago. It is made up of over 18,000-plus Southwest flight attendants.

“Never before in the history of Southwest Airlines have flight attendants’ working conditions deteriorated so rapidly, crippling our quality of life, devaluing our role and creating a loss of spirit,” TWU Local 556 President Lyn Montgomery told Southwest Airlines during negotiations. “Resolutions can wait no longer.”

The group claims delays from Southwest Airlines are leaving flight attendants without necessary changes to improve working conditions.

Required changes in the new agreement include: paying flight attendants for time worked, including when passengers are boarding the plan; health insurance that continues coverage for various medical conditions; and providing access to food and a safe place to rest while traveling on the job.

Further, the union said flight attendants have experienced unprecedented levels of passenger aggression, airline technology failures, reroutes and delays over the past few years.

“While Southwest Airlines ignores the very real needs of flights attendings sleeping on airport floors because there is nowhere to go, they asked us to take pay cuts at the height of the pandemic, mere months away from a return to profitability,” Montgomery said.

“Our union advocated instead for extension of the government’s payroll support programs to help save our jobs. Southwest Airlines was more concerned about what it would message to its shareholders rather than exhausted flight crews and displaced passengers.”

Phoenix is one of 11 cities Southwest flight attendants are scheduled to picket.

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Southwest flight attendants to picket over working conditions at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport