Southwest Airlines is deservedly in financial trouble

In love with bigotry, blacklisting, and bad maintenance
In love with bigotry, blacklisting, and bad maintenance

Late last week Southwest Airlines revealed that it is going to cease operations in four airports while simultaneously cutting 2,000 jobs as a result of a $231 million loss in the first quarter of 2024.

The company’s CEO, Bob Jordan, attempted to lay the blame for these difficulties on Boeing’s quality control problems, which has not only caused it to delay delivery of 26 planes in Southwest’s most recent order of 46, but has likely driven away customers, since Southwest uses only Boeing planes to simplify the maintenance of its fleet. For example, the article cited this incident and attributed it to Boeing’s troubles:

Earlier this month, an engine cowling on a Southwest operated Boeing 737-800 fell off during take off from Denver airport. Flight 3695 reported the engine cowling “fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap” an FAA spokesperson previously told Newsweek.

Neither the article or Jordan are being entirely truthful or accurate. That engine cowling incident has nothing to do with Boeing, as the plane had been owned by Southwest for a considerable time, which means its maintenance is Southwest’s responsibility, not Boeing’s.

And why might Southwest have maintenance issues? Maybe these maintenance problems exist because the airline has gone all-in for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, creating racial and sex quotas that make race and sex the most important qualifications for many jobs, not skill, knowledge, talent, or experience. Its 2022 DEI-report [pdf] cited these goals:
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Real pushback: Judge slams Southwest Airlines for violating settlement terms of free-speech court case

Southwest: Enemy to free speech

Bring a gun to a knife fight: We now come to another chapter in the continuing saga of flight attendant Charlene Carter, who was fired in 2017 by Southwest Airlines because she had expressed opinions that were not liked by both the company and union officials. In 2022 a jury awarded her $5.1 million against the airline and the union.

In December 2022 the federal judge in the case, Brantley Starr, reduced the settlement award to $810,000 in order “to comply with federal limits on punitive damages.” However, he also approved the rest of the jury award, which required Southwest to rehire Carter as well as change its policies that violated the first amendment, and announce these facts publicly to its employees.

Only a month later Carter went back to court, demanding that the judge sanction Southwest for violating settlement terms of her court victory. Not only did the company not admit error to its employees, as required by the settlement, one company-wide memo slandered Carter again, calling her previous communications for which she was fired as “inappropriate, harassing, and offensive.”

Judge Starr yesterday responded to Carter’s demand for relief, slamming Southwest in no uncertain terms.
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Pushback: Judge rules flight attendant must be rehired by Southwest, but reduces her award significantly

Southwest Airlines: Enemy to free speech

Blacklists are back and the business community loves ’em: Though Charlene Carter, the Southwest flight attendant who was fired because she expressed opinions the company and her union did not like, had won her lawsuit against the company, federal district Judge Brantley Starr has reduced the jury award to her from $5.1 million to $810,000 in order “to comply with federal limits on punitive damages.”

The judge this week reduced that award to $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Southwest and $300,000 from the union, $150,000 in back pay and about $60,000 in interest.

In ordering Southwest to reinstate Carter this week, the judge made a reference to a line in Southwest advertising campaigns. “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case,” Starr wrote.

This story is an update on two previous blacklist columns, the second of which described the ugly email correspondence between company and union officials prior to Carter’s firing. Brian Talburt, an official with the Transit Workers Union (TWU), had written to both his boss, union head Audrey Stone, as well as one Southwest manager as follows about Carter:
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Pushback: Flight attendant fired for having opinions wins big against airline and union

Southwest: Enemy to free speech

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Charlene Carter, a flight attendant who had worked at Southwest Airlines for 20 years but was fired in 2017 because she had publicly opposed the use of her union dues to fund pro-abortion protests, has now won a $5.1 million lawsuit against both Southwest and her union.

A jury in a Dallas federal district court handed down the verdict, ruling Charlene Carter had been fired for her religious stance on abortion, which she shared to social media, and that her termination was in violation of her right to advocate against her union.

If it stands, Carter could collect $4.15 million from Southwest and $950,000 from Local 556 of the Transport Workers Union, mostly in punitive damages.

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