Today your Association filed its formal Answer in federal court to the lawsuit brought on February 28, 2019, by Southwest Airlines Co., against AMFA and your designated collective bargaining representatives. The Answer filed by AMFA attorneys today strongly denies the allegations by the Company that any of the Named Defendants violated the Railway Labor Act, and our attorneys are prepared for and are planning a vigorous defense in court.
AMFA has also taken a step I had hoped we could avoid, but one that management has left little choice about. Today, AMFA has also taken the step of counter-suing Southwest Airlines Co. for its violations, as alleged in the Answer and Counterclaim, of the Railway Labor Act – and it has counter-sued both the Company and its Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven for defamation, as alleged, against AMFA.
AMFA’s counterclaims are contained in its Answer, which is now a public document filed in the United States District Court For the Northern District Of Texas (Case No. 3:19-cv-00514-G), just the same as is Southwest’s Complaint. Neither I, AMFA, nor the other Named Defendants will attempt to litigate their claims, or the Company’s, in the public or in the press. We will instead do so in Court, just as we have with every other lawsuit. It is important, however, that today, on this occasion you know this:
AMFA will defend itself vigorously in court – and it will sue where its interest or its members’ interests are imperiled – but AMFA does not want to be in court.
AMFA wants to get its members at Southwest a new contract, and end six (6) long years of bargaining. That and only that is its overriding goal.
Next week, AMFA bargaining representatives, and all of the named defendants the Company sued included, will again sit down with the Company bargaining representatives. I will be there as well. We will not allow lawsuits or any threats to our members to deter us from our overriding goal of getting you a Tentative Agreement that you can ratify.
Your role is critical: just as you do every day and every night, you must continue to keep Southwest passengers and crew safe while keep Southwest’s maintenance operations as productive as you possibly can. These are trying times, but your discipline and your focus on doing your job are the backbone of this Association, and of Southwest Airlines.