Can there be LUV at AMR someday.

AAquila

Senior
Sep 22, 2002
357
0
With a discount carrier option on the table at AMR, what does the future hold?
-------------------------------------------Southwest Air F/As ready to picket.
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 14, 2003; Page E01
Southwest Airlines flight attendants plan to picket today at the carrier''s main airport in Dallas to protest a management proposal to increase working hours, the head of the flight attendants union said.
The protest, which follows seven months of unsuccessful contract negotiations, shows that even the nation''s most profitable airline isn''t immune to the pressures on an industry struggling through its worst period in history.
Southwest is asking its flight attendants to add 21/2 hours to their 10-to-12-hour workday. Like all airlines, the carrier is hoping to boost productivity in a tough, highly competitive environment.
We can''t continue the same customer service we have had with these increases, said Thom McDaniel, the group''s president.
Separately, McDaniel said, the flight attendants are still pursuing their request for a 15-minute break each day, a concession they''ve been seeking since 1996.
McDaniel said he expected about 40 picketers from among the company''s 7,300 flight attendants. The participants, who will be off duty, will not disrupt Southwest''s operations, he said.
We''re negotiating with the company, not with our customers, McDaniel said. We''ll continue to provide the same service we have during this time.
McDaniel said the union has applied for a permit to hold a similar demonstration at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where Southwest is the dominant carrier. But he did not know when, or if, the group would picket at the airport.
Southwest spokeswoman Beth Harbin said the negotiations had been productive but declined to offer specifics.
The goal is to recognize [the flight attendants''] contributions to the company but at the same time allow us to have the lowest costs in the industry, Harbin said.
The flight attendants are Southwest''s only work group without a new agreement. In recent weeks, the airline has revised agreements with unions representing its pilots, mechanics, ramp agents, flight instructors and customer service agents.
In contrast to their colleagues at other airlines, Southwest''s flight attendants and pilots -- not cleaning crews -- pick up trash on the planes between flights. The airline''s innovative and demanding labor practices have helped keep its costs low. It is the only major carrier to report a profit last year and in every quarter since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also has been ranked in Fortune Magazine''s top10 most admired companies every year since 1998.
Southwest''s success has paid off for employees. Thanks to its profit last year, the airline is putting $71 million into its employee profit-sharing plan in September. And while its competitors have cut back operations and laid off thousands, Southwest has not trimmed flights or let go of workers. The airline added hundreds of employees as it has expanded to new destinations -- such as its latest transcontinental route, between BWI and San Jose.
But like other major U.S. carriers, which have lost a total of $15 billion since 2001, Southwest is being forced to examine ways to improve operations. The airline reported that its earnings fell 53 percent last year, to $241 million, and has said it expects its first quarter to be weak. With oil prices rising and a possible war with Iraq on the horizon, it is likely to face further challenges.
For years, Southwest has been a model of customer service and on-time performance. But last year, it fell to its lowest on-time position since 1990.
McDaniel, who is running for reelection, said he realized the airline is under pressure to operate in a tough environment, but he said that remedies should not come at the expense of his members.
We don''t want things to change. We love our company, he said. We''re trying to make sure we keep the same culture and same attention to customer service intact.
Pickets are not unusual during airline contract talks. In March 2001, Southwest''s ramp workers protested the lack of progress with their contract negotiations.
But if worker tensions rise, Southwest could harm its image as an employee-friendly carrier. Southwest''s flight attendants, known for creating a lighthearted atmosphere during flights, have helped build the airline''s fun-loving reputation.
 

Hopeful

Veteran
Dec 21, 2002
5,998
347
Goes to show that even though Southwest has remained profitable, they might be feeling somewhat of the economic pinch and needs to change workrules to head off any future ersoion of profits. But if that's all they want right now from their F/A's, it seems alot easier to swallow than a greater increase in flying time AA might be looking for from its F/A's in one gulp!
 

AC AA LA FA

Veteran
Aug 21, 2002
630
22
mars
www.usaviation.com
In the eyes of any management team right now, at any airline-the fruit is ripe for the picken' to ask labor groups for some kind of giveback-profits or not. It looks like this is WNs idea of "tough times"..(boo hoo to their 71 million)..so better get while the gettens good so to say.......