Southwest, union ask federal mediator to assist stalled contract talks
By By Candy Thomson and The Baltimore Sun
Sep 19, 2012 | 4:27 PM
Southwest Airlines and the union representing its 8,500 ground employees have asked the National Mediation Board to jump start contract talks after 14 months of negotiations failed to produce an deal.
Transport Workers Union Local 555 called the stalled talks "disappointing," given the fact that the airline posted the highest second-quarter profit in its history. Negotiations began on July 12 last year.
"Southwest has proposed changes in our collective bargaining agreement which are concessionary in nature and entirely unacceptable to our members," union president Charles Cerf said in a statement.
The union said Southwest wants to outsource jobs, increase the number of part-time workers, and lower medical and on-the-job injury benefits.
Airline spokesman Paul Flaningan said Southwest remains committed to reaching a deal.