Southwest Airlines Says Flight Disruptions Being Caused Deliberately by Mechanics

Southwest Airlines Co., battered by more than a week of flight delays and cancellations from a rash of aircraft maintenance issues, said its investigation has identified a small group of union mechanics that are orchestrating an effort to slow operations.The airline called on the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association to comply with its legal obligation and "take immediate action to stop this activity," according to a statement from the Dallas-based carrier. If AMFA wants to challenge its findings, Southwest said it asked the group to provide information and data so it can work with the company to resolve the "dramatic and highly unusual spike" in aircraft downtime.The disruption that's caused hundreds of flight delays is the latest eruption of tension between the airline and the union that represents its 2,700 mechanics. Negotiations for a new contract have stretched over more than six years. The airline has taken AMFA to court at least once, and the union twice has called for the firing of airline executives. Southwest has been frustrated in efforts to secure a new contract as it tries to keep costs in check.AMFA "firmly rejects" Southwest's allegations, Bret Oestreich, the union's national director, said in a message to its members.  Continue reading...

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