- In Los Angeles and at several airports across the nation, hundreds of flight attendants called for improvements to their working conditions.
Dressed in their uniforms, hundreds of Southwest Airlines flight attendants across the country staged a simultaneous protest Tuesday to demand immediate change that includes better working conditions.
In California, protests took place at the Oakland and Los Angeles airports.
The workers urged that a new collective bargaining agreement be carried out that addresses these problems that also affect the comfort of passengers.
Lyn Montgomery, president of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, the Southwest Airlines flight attendants union, said the last two years have been very difficult for flight attendants.
This includes problems that already existed long before the Covid-19 pandemic, such as long working hours, being on call 24 hours a day, a situation that prevented workers from having adequate rest.
“We have only been the victims, along with our passengers, of terrible technological failures that have created chaos throughout our personal lives and our daily work schedules,” Montgomery said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
He added that the company has experienced technology failures big enough to affect domestic flights across the country, where flight attendants have had to wait hours and hours just to find out what their next assignment was or when they would go to a hotel or where. they had to arrive.
“We have reports of flight attendants having to wait three to four hours with crew scheduling for their assignments and hotel reservations,” Montgomery said.
She stressed that unfortunately, the negotiations have not been productive. The union, which represents about 18,000 flight attendants, has requested mediation, which they will obtain in November with the company, and a federal mediator since they have failed to advance talks on improvements directly with Southwest.
TWU Local 556 members ask that flight attendants be paid for time worked in their contract and be allowed sufficient rest during non-duty hours.
Plus, that your benefits really help, like health insurance that kicks in when you’re injured on the job, faced with a serious illness, or have a baby.
They ask that flight attendants have control over their personal schedules when they are not at work, allowing them the freedom they deserve.
They also request that they be provided with access to food and a safe place to sleep when traveling for work. All this without forgetting to fix the technological failures that disproportionately affect frontline aviation workers and passengers.
The workers add that there is a modern reservation system that meets the needs of the staff and the operation to end the unsafe practice of 24-hour guards.
In response to the protests, Southwest said in a statement that it hopes to continue negotiations with TW 556 and the national mediation board so it can reward flight attendants and continue to attract top talent.
“We certainly hope there is a middle ground that can be reached,” Southwest said.