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Southwest Airlines Pilots Vote to Strike Here’s Why Your Trip Probably Won’t Be Affected

Again I say, do not panic.

Southwest Airlines pilots voted to authorize a strike, but it’s highly unlikely it will happen.

Just a few weeks ago, American Airlines pilots announced they had also authorized a strike in a similar vote. In both cases, the vote is just the first step on a path that rarely if ever ends in an actual work stoppage.

In order for a strike to occur, negotiations need to break down between the pilots and airline management, the National Mediation Board needs to get involved, a mandatory 30-day cooling off period must be observed, during which President Joe Biden could appoint a board to oversee further negotiations. If all of that and some other steps fail, only then would the pilots actually be legally allowed to walk off the job.

Even so, these strike authorization votes are often an important part of contract negotiations at airlines. They’re meant to signal to management that pilots are willing to take drastic measures to secure favorable terms in a new contract.

“This is a historic day, not only for our pilots, but for Southwest Airlines,” Southwest Airlines Pilots Association president Casey Murray said in a statement. “The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point. Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers.”

The vote was originally scheduled to remain open through the end of the month, but the union’s statement said that its members had already overwhelmingly shown support of a possible strike. More than 98% of Southwest’s pilots participated in the vote before results were announced, and 99% of them voted in favor.

For its part, Southwest’s management released a statement saying it would continue negotiating with the pilots to avoid a strike.

“Our negotiating team continues to bargain in good faith and work toward reaching a new agreement to reward our pilots,” Adam Carlisle, Southwest’s vice president of labor relations, said in the release. “This anticipated authorization vote result does not change our commitment to the negotiation process, and we look forward to continuing discussions with SWAPA at the negotiating table.” 

Source : Usatoday