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Season 4, Episode 187

Flight attendants protest Southwest Airlines as negotiations continue

TWU 556


Guest Name:

Lyn Montgomery

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Lyn Montgomery, President of the Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss their ongoing fight for a new contract and the protest being held outside of the Southwest Airlines “Spirit Party” in Denver. Montgomery also talked about the impact the negotiations have had on flight attendants and the perception the public has about working as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines.

To protest the treatment of their members, TWU Local 556 is holding a protest today in downtown Denver just outside the Southwest Airlines party to improve morale. The “Spirit Party” is being held by Southwest Airlines executive members, and the flight attendants are using the opportunity to draw attention to the lack of worker care from the company's executives. 

As part of the ongoing contract negotiations, Local 556 is seeking improved wages to match inflation. Southwest requires flight attendants to live within two hours of major hubs, meaning the majority of attendants must live in larger cities with higher costs of living, and it’s been five years without a pay raise for Southwest flight attendants.

The winter 2022 technology meltdown is still causing issues in the company, Montgomery said. There are several contracts besides the flight attendants union waiting to be negotiated. Despite the issues stemming from the meltdown and unresolved contract issues, the CEO of Southwest received a multi-million dollar bonus. 

For most of her nearly 30 years of work at Southwest Airlines, Montgomery said the company has been union-friendly. When contracts were up for negotiation, they were resolved before bonuses were handed to executives in the past. This is the first time Montgomery has seen this level of workforce neglect at Southwest Airlines. This has led to an exodus of flight attendants at levels Montgomery has never seen before. Southwest Airlines had a reputation as a career workplace that supported their workers, she said.

To hear more about the protest from Montgomery, press play on the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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