Southwest Airlines Co. baggage handlers and airport ground-operations workers have joined other labor groups in calling for the ouster of Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly over flight disruptions and what they call the misguided use of cash.
Leaders of Transport Workers Union Local 555 approved a resolution calling for the replacement of Kelly and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven, President Greg Puriski said in an interview Wednesday. Labor groups representing Southwest’s flight attendants, pilots and mechanics this week also have called for the two executives to step aside.
The unions criticized Kelly for spending billions of dollars on stock buybacks instead of plowing the money into updates of the airline’s aging computer system and for focusing too much on cost controls. The unions represent about 36,000 of Southwest’s 52,300 full-time workers, based on company numbers. Pilots, flight attendants and mechanics are in contract talks with Southwest.
“The culture of Southwest is just not the way it used to be,” Puriski said. “It’s profits before people now, which is very disheartening. We just don’t like the direction of our company.”
TWU 555 represents workers who load bags and cargo onto planes, direct aircraft at gates, stock planes with food and beverages and oversee onboard weights and balance.
©2016 Bloomberg L.P.
This article was written by Mary Schlangenstein from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly at an event at Houston's Hobby airport. Despite profits, the CEO is under fire from the airline's labor groups. Southwest Airlines
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