Over the weekend, Southwest Airlines canceled 1800 flights over Columbus Day. The reason for the cancellation which was given on the official site was “air traffic issues” and “disturbed weather”. But, the real reason for the cancellation was the protest made by the airline workers on the mandate of covid 19 vaccination to resume their work.
More than 800 flights were canceled on Saturday and 1000 flights were canceled on Sunday which is nearly 27% by Southwest Airlines. Though the official reason given by the airlines were problems related to traffic and weather the reason stated by the Federal Aviation Administration was completely different. As per the statement released by Federal Aviation Administration through Twitter, airlines were suffering from the problem of staff shortages. The problem of traffic and weather issues were not shared by any other airlines apart from Southwest airlines.
A representative of Southwest Airlines reported that a California resident named Gurinder Rai’s flight to Florida was canceled as a staff reportedly walked out.
As mentioned by Gurinder Rai, many employees of Southwest airlines have also chosen to walk out because of mandatory requirements of getting Covid-19 vaccination.
It is also stated that many employees from the other major airlines as well may decide to join this protest as well. Many American Airline workers which also includes pilots and flight attendants might also take part in this protest against the company’s mandate to get Covid-19 vaccination.
Southwest Airline released a note to their employees
Southwest Airlines informed all his employees to strictly follow Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate or else they are responsible for losing the job. But if we go by The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) they have filed a legal case against Southwest Airlines over the Covid-19 vaccination mandate.
SWAPA also requested all its members to participate in the protest held but at the same time also clarified through a statement that a large number of cancellations has no connection with the protest whether it is in an official or non-official protest.
As per the statement released by a Union member of SWAPA, he says that SWAPA is completely aware of the difficulties faced by Southwest Airlines but they are sure that their members are not taking part in any official or unofficial job actions. Also, they will continue to participate to overcome the SWA’s management difficulties or any other challenges and remain to be a productive pilot.
Amongst all the major airlines, Delta Airlines is the only one who has not been mandated to get Covid-19 vaccination. However, from November if an employee of Delta Airline is not vaccinated then they have to bear a penalty of 200$ on monthly basis.