Southwest Employees Protest Possible Outsourcing

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email
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There could be changes coming to Northwest Florida Beaches International's largest air carrier.

Southwest employees claim the airline is trying to save money by outsourcing jobs.

Customers say they choose Southwest Airlines for many reasons.

"I think they're convenient, they provide an excellent service, and so it's an excellent value for the dollar to fly southwest. Usually on time and I've been a long time Southwest flyer for years," said Will Dean, a Southwest customer.

"They're cheap and always on time. Luggage check is free and I think they have excellent service," said Peggy Morse, another Southwest customer.

The one thing these two passengers both value is service. But the local Transport Workers Union representative claims that could soon change.

The union claims Southwest is considering a plan to outsource a number of baggage handling and boarding jobs.

"It will probably affect some of their on-time arrivals or departures. Their bags showing up on time or being there when they get there," said Micahel Puckett with the Transport Workers Union.

Puckett says the union has been negotiating with Southwest for nearly two years and have been working without a contract.

"That's part of what they want to do. Use more part timers and contract employees in a lot of stations," said Puckett.

On Friday, Southwest Airlines issued a statement saying in part "it is not our intention to outsource current Southwest jobs. We need added flexibility to utilize part-time and seasonal employees."

"Longer delay times, less quality is a negative, of course, for business travelers like myself," said Dean.

But to many, the quality of customer service would have to suffer drastically.

"I think the service with the rest of the airlines is so bad that I believe that southwest would have to completely go down," said Morse.

Southwest Airlines stressed negotiations are still underway and nothing has been decided.

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