Southwest Ground Workers Stage Soft Protest
Las Vegas CBS KXNT – Passengers at the McCarran Airport baggage carousels were greeted on Thursday by Soutwest Airlines ground workers requesting support in their labor negotiations.
Members of the Transport Workers Union Local 555 handed out several hundred leaflets asking passengers to call Southwest and protest a plan that would fill scheduling gaps with contract workers.
Freight Agent Adam McQuinn says the company wants to cut costs, but he cites projections from Wall Street’s airline industry analysts as evidence things are rosy for Southwest.
“As of last year, we made $421 million,” McQuinn told KXNT. “They project us to make over 700 million this year alone, and over $800 million next year.”
McQuinn says Southwest employees consider themselves specialists in their field, and in terms of productivity, stack themselves up against employees at any other airline. They believe introducing contract workers into the mix would compromise the quality of the workforce.
McQuinn is also one of seven members of the employee negotiating committee for TWU local 555. Southwest and the Transport Workers requested federal mediation late last year, after 15 months of talks failed to yield results.