AA & Southwest Airlines: labour strife; plus ça change....

Premium Analysis

For all the conclusions drawn by senior executives that the US airline industry has moved into a new era of sustained stability, one mainstay from the past remains in place – the onset of labour slowdowns when negotiations get tense. Both American and Southwest have suffered from slowdowns by their mechanics during 2019 and both have taken legal action to remedy those actions.

Southwest recently achieved a truce with its mechanics after forging a new five-year deal that offers generous compensation to those employees. 

American remains embroiled in conflict with its mechanics at a time when the busy US travel season is now under way. And the airline’s mechanics appear to be ratcheting up their rhetoric against American, amping up their threats to strike. 

The latest slowdowns reflect a never ending cycle in the airline industry, and beg a pertinent question – is there a way to mitigate impasses in negotiations other than purposeful work slowdowns that ultimately blemish airline brands? 

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