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More than 400 Southwest mechanics get furlough warnings as cost-cutting talks falter

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A hen flies by within the foreground as a Southwest Airlines jet is available in for a touchdown at McCarran International Airport on May 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

More than 400 Southwest Airlines mechanics and technicians, about 15% of the work group, have acquired notices warning them about potential furloughs, the service mentioned Wednesday.

Southwest has requested staff to take 10% pay cuts to keep away from furloughs, which might be the primary within the Dallas airline’s practically 50 years of flying. Southwest warned 42 materials specialists about attainable furlough earlier this month.

The talks have raised tensions with labor unions on the airline. The mechanics’ union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, mentioned in a be aware to members Wednesday that it was shocked by the furlough warnings. It additionally slammed the corporate for turning down federal loans as a result of the phrases have been too onerous.

“This attempt to pressure our members into accepting unfair wage decreases, while management turns down government loans because they refused to suspend shareholder dividends and stock repurchases — loans that all the other leading airlines accepted — makes this action unconscionable as well as illegal,” Bret Oestreich, nationwide director of AMFA mentioned in an announcement.

U.S. airways have furloughed greater than 30,000 staff as they battle from weak demand within the coronavirus pandemic — a disaster executives say is the worst of their historical past. Including buyouts and different voluntary departures, the trade will shed the equal of some 90,000 staff by the top of 2020, in keeping with Airlines for America, a commerce group that represents most U.S. carriers.

Southwest mentioned it has despatched 403 mechanics and technicians federally mandated notices warning them that their jobs are in danger. The involuntary cuts may take impact as early as Jan. 25.

“We are not closing the door to further discussions, but we need agreements to be reached to help us save these employees’ jobs and address the extremely challenging economic conditions we face,” mentioned Russell McCrady, vice chairman of labor relations at Southwest.

The firm mentioned it plans to proceed talks with the union, in keeping with a memo to staff, which was seen by CNBC.

Negotiations are ongoing with Southwest Airlines pilots and flight attendants, however unions for each teams have bristled over a power majeure clause the corporate proposed, which the labor teams say threatens job safety.

Correction: An earlier model of this story incorrectly recognized the sender of a memo to staff.


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