Southwest Airlines’ pilot union has called for a strike authorization vote, weeks after a tech meltdown at the carrier left tens of thousands of passengers stranded across the United States.
“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but given the trajectory of our current leadership group, we have little faith in the stability and future of our airline,” Capt. Casey Murray, president of Southwest Airlines Pilot Association, which represents more than 10,000 pilots, said in a statement.
The strike authorization vote will take place beginning May 1 and will be counted at the end of that month. Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As major US airlines scramble to capitalize on booming consumer demand and with the industry returning to profitability, pilots at all major US carriers have been demanding higher wages and a better work-life balance.
Southwest pilots have been locked in talks over a new contract with the airline for nearly three years.
Delta Air Lines offered a 34% cumulative pay increase last month to its pilots over three years in a new contract after the Atlanta-based carrier’s pilots voted overwhelmingly in October to authorize a strike.
Pilots have termed Delta’s offer as a benchmark for other contracts.
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