More than 400 Southwest mechanics get furlough notices as talks falter

A bird flies into the foreground as a Southwest Airlines jet arrives at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 25, 2020.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

The carrier said on Wednesday that mechanics and technicians from more than 400 Southwest Airlines, about 15% of the working group, have received notices warning them of possible furloughs.

Southwest has asked employees to take a 10% pay cut to avoid furloughs, which will be the first time in nearly 50 years of a Dallas airline flight. Southwest earlier this month warned 42 materials experts about possible furloughs.

The talks have increased tensions with labor unions at the airline. The Association of Mechanics of Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association said in a note to members on Wednesday that it was surprised by the fatal warning. This turned down the federal loan to the company as conditions were very poor.

“It attempts to pressure our members into accepting unfair pay, while management reduces government debt because they refused to postpone shareholder dividends and stock repurchases – loans that all other major airlines accepted Done – makes this action illegal as well as illegal, ”Brett AMFA national director Ostrich said in a statement.

American airlines have fired more than 30,000 workers as they struggle with weak demand in the epidemic of coronavirus virus – a crisis officials say is the worst in their history. Including buyers and other voluntary departures, the industry will shed the equivalent of some 90,000 employees by the end of 2020, according to Airlines for America, a trade group that represents most US carriers.

Southwest said it has sent federally mandated notices to 403 mechanics and technicians warning that their jobs are in danger. Involuntary reductions can take effect as early as 25 January.

Russell McCardy, vice president of labor relations at Southwest, said, “We are not closing the door for further discussion, but we need agreements to help these employees save their jobs and we are in those very challenging economic face the consequences.”

The company said it planned to continue negotiations with the union, which was overseen by CNBC, according to a memo from employees.

Talks are on with Southwest Airlines pilots and flight attendants, but unions for both groups have emphasized the company’s proposed strength, which labor groups say threatens job security.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the worker sending a memo.

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