Southwest Pilot Contract, Part Two

Heard back from some more of our longtime Southwest Airlines’ pilot subscribers this morning, who wrote today about the pilots voting down their tentative agreement.

“I think you nailed it. My way to explain it is this. It was like when people vote for Ralph Nader. They don’t think he stands a chance in hell of winning, but they use their vote as a vote of protest against the system. I don’t think any of the pilots I know thought this thing would be defeated. Rather, they did see an opportunity to send a message to management and/or union leadership by voting no. Unfortunately, that message was stronger than many people thought. Rut-ro. Now things are going to get reallllly interesting.”

Another reader commented, “Holly, you have been on this from the beginning when Carl (Kuwitzky, President of SWAPA) announced that there was a tentative agreement with the company last fall. But, as you said at the time, there really wasn’t an agreement. I think Carl has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. You think there might be some Texas Two-Steps going on here?”

Another pilot wrote me, saying that no, he voted against the deal because it was a bad deal. Period. How could I take the word of one pilot who said it was “too lucrative?” As he put it,

“I’m sure you’ll talk to more of them than me, but there is not one SWA guy I talked to that said he voted against the contract because it was too lucrative.

In no particular order:

1) Not enough pay.

2) Lance Captain program curtailed

3) Scope

4) Complexity of the new scheduling system.”

Another pilot wrote to tell me that yes, he voted against it because of the scope provisions and because he is unhappy with the direction the company is going.

So, reading through the feedbag this morning it would appear that some guys voted against it because it was not lucrative enough, while others voted against it because they thought it was too expensive for the company. Then there is the scope problem.

Go figure. I think the only thing anyone knows for sure at this point is that the next round of negotiations are going to be tougher. I’d bet the farm on that one. (And the cows too.)