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Southwest Airlines pilots vote to authorize strike amid years-long contract dispute

American Airlines pilots picket at DFW after voting to authorize strike
American Airlines pilots picket at DFW after voting to authorize strike 00:51

DALLAS ( — The union representing pilots for Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that its members voted to authorize a strike after three years of contract negotiations.

The vote by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association was supposed to take one month but leaders closed it after just a week and a half, with 98% of pilots participating. According to a release from the SWAPA, 99% of the votes were in favor of a strike.

"We want our passengers to understand that we do not take this path lightly and are disheartened that the LUV airline has gotten so far away from the values set forth by Herb Kelleher," union president Casey Murray said in a statement.

"We want our customers to be prepared for the path ahead and make arrangements on other carriers so that their plans through the summer and fall are not disrupted," he said.

In its own statement, the Dallas-based airline said the strike vote will not have an impact on its summer travel plans, noting that a strike can only take place after an extensive mediation process.

"Our negotiating team continues to bargain in good faith and work toward reaching a new agreement to reward our Pilots," Adam Carlisle, Southwest's vice president of labor relations, said in the statement.

The strike authorization came less than two weeks after pilots for Fort Worth-based American Airlines took the same step in their own contract dispute.

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