The Oklahoman

Pilots union sues Southwest over changes made in pandemic

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The pilots union is suing Southwest Airlines, saying rules the airline put into place before and during the pandemic changed pay rates and working rules, in violation of federal labor law.

The union says any changes that affect pay or working conditions must be negotiated, and Southwest has made unilateral changes even while the two sides are at the bargaining table.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Associatio­n, or SWAPA, filed the lawsuit Monday in federal district court in Dallas, where Southwest is based.

Southwest has been forced to respond to “unpredicta­ble challenges” during the pandemic, said Russell McCrady, the airline’s vice president of labor relations.

“The airline disagrees with SWAPA’s claims that any COVID-related changes over the past few months required negotiatio­n,” he said.

The two sides began negotiatin­g over a new contract in January 2020.

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