Air- Union sues Southwest over sick-leave changes: Associated Press Business News – MSN Money

Posted: January 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Jan. 16, 2014

DALLAS (AP) – The union for bag handlers and other airport ramp workers is suing Southwest Airlines Co., charging that the carrier wrongly restricted sick leave while freezing weather snarled operations in Chicago this month.

The union says that after declaring an emergency, Southwest demanded that employees get a doctor\’s note if they called in sick, and threatened to review absences going back three years. The union said its contract doesn\’t give Southwest the power to do either of those things. The emergency was lifted after two days.

The Transport Workers Union Local 555 filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Dallas and asked a judge to order the airline to avoid similar actions in the future.

In a response filed Thursday, Southwest lawyers said that airline managers have the right to declare temporary emergencies to keep planes flying during staffing shortages, and that nothing in the union contract prohibits that.

Sick calls on Jan. 1 were six times the normal rate, \”an inexplicable increase even when the historical patterns of increased sick calls on New Year\’s Day is taken into account,\” the airline said.

Southwest also told the court that the dispute is minor and should be heard by an arbitrator instead of a federal judge.

The union represents about 10,000 Southwest ground workers who earn between $10 and $26 an hour, according to court papers. The union said ramp operations at Midway were 22 workers short on the day that Southwest declared an emergency and announced limits on sick leave. The airline had already imposed mandatory overtime and called in ramp workers from other bases, according to the union.

Southwest and the union have been negotiating for more than two years over a new contract to replace one that became subject to change in 2011. Under federal law, labor contracts in the airline industry don\’t expire — the ramp employees have continued working under terms of the old agreement.

via Union sues Southwest over sick-leave changes: Associated Press Business News – MSN Money.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s