Southwest Airlines filed a lawsuit on February 28 against the union that represents their mechanics, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), in an effort to stop what is being called an illegal job action. It is implied that the job action is driving an increased number of aircraft being placed out of service for maintenance reviews of items that have no effect on the safety of flight.
The two entities have been in a heated battle for contract negotiations for months. AMFA has filed complaints with the FAA and Department of Labor alleging failure to follow regulations, pressure to cut corners and threats of stunted career development and job loss if not complied with by the mechanics. Some of these claims have been substantiated during investigations resulting from those claims.
A statement from Southwest says this:
“Today’s action does not alter our dedicated goal of reaching an agreement that benefits our hardworking Maintenance Employees nor does it change the Company’s unwavering commitment to Safety,” said vice president Labor Relations Russell McCrady. “Southwest is–hands down–one of the best companies in the world to work for and we will not stray from our focus on rewarding our mechanics, while we work to shield our Employees and Customers from unnecessary disruptions within the operation.”