(Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned Southwest Airlines Co and its mechanics union that their ongoing labor dispute threatens to damage the airline’s safety practices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Southwest and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which has been in contract negotiations since 2012, are locked in an escalating battle.
Southwest Airlines’ declared state of operational emergency (SOE) remained in effect at three of the carrier’s major mechanics bases on Thursday, as the SOE enters its fourth week.
Sources inside the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) and a Southwest spokeswoman confirmed late Thursday that the SOE remains in effect in Houston and Los Angeles, plus in Dallas, where Southwest has its largest mechanics base with more than 850 on staff. More than 2,400 Southwest mechanics belong to AMFA.
Over the past two weeks, long-running tensions between Southwest Airlines(NYSE: LUV) and its maintenance workers (and their union) have come to a boil. Southwest has seen a sharp spike in out-of-service planes, magnifying the impact of severe weather on its operations. As a result, it has experienced an unusually high number of flight delays and cancellations.