Southwest Airlines pilots picket in Dallas for better working conditions amid pilot shortage

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More than a thousand Southwest Airlines pilots held an informational picket in Dallas on Tuesday over poor working conditions as the pilot shortage drags on.  

The off-duty pilots, approximately 1,300, lined the entrance of the Love Field Airport for an hour Tuesday morning, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), currently negotiating with the carrier for an "industry-leading" contract, told FOX Business. 

The pilots held signs saying, "our passengers and pilots deserve better" and "summer of luv: Delayed, rescheduled, canceled."  

The picket comes amid a time when the entire industry, including Southwest, which is the fourth-largest airline in the nation, is facing a pilot shortage.

AMERICAN AIRLINES ENDING SERVICE IN THREE CITIES DUE TO PILOT SHORTAGE

SWAPA President Casey Murray said Southwest pilots represented by the association have been forced to work 20,000 days of overtime over the past year and "lost valuable days with family due to schedule mismanagement." 

"Our pilots and passengers deserve better than what SWA {Southwest Airlines] is giving us now in terms of efficient, reliable service," according to Murray, who added that SWAPA pilots have voluntarily flown over 164,000 extra days on their time off during that same time. 

The association is fighting for an "industry-leading collective bargaining agreement to recruit and retain pilots during the shortage," according to Murray. Some of their biggest goals are better scheduling for pilots as well as industry-leading benefits. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 35.32 -0.31 -0.87%

The association further noted that other carriers have already made significant changes to their benefits in an effort to attract candidates. 

JETBLUE, ALASKA TRIM SCHEDULES AS AIRLINES ATTEMPT SMOOTHER SUMMER

For instance, Piedmont Airlines and Envoy Air — which are American Airlines-owned regional airlines — announced earlier this month that their pilots would be getting pay raises through August 2024. 

Meanwhile, it's been nearly 900 days since the association says they have proposed a new contract "to attract the next generation of aviators." 

Southwest Airlines told FOX Business that it was aware that some off-duty pilots are participating in informational picketing and says it "respects the rights of our Employees to express their opinions." 

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"We do not anticipate any disruption in service as a result of this single demonstration," the carrier said. "For 51 years, we’ve maintained a legendary Southwest Culture that honors our valued Employees." 

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