May 15, 2018
It was a pleasure meeting you and your team on Wednesday night at the rally event. It is such a critical time for your pilot group to continue to choose Union representation for its pilots. Every gain in safety, contractual protections, economic security, and improvement on benefits for our families has been hard-won by fellow pilots in labor. It would be a fools errand to try to paint all labor organizations with the same brush, but the commitment to the pilot family absolutely must be the sole focus of each representative body. Your pilots will not be served better by management for the simple reason that management’s sole mission is to protect the firm. Even here at Southwest, with a historical management legacy, we still have to hold our managers accountable for “good intentions” gone awry. That watch can never be abandoned.
If I were to speak as a labor leader to your pilots, I would point no further than safety. The historical safety records that aviation enjoys today are a result of the checks and balances between regulators, management, and labor. Those three groups represent their individual interests and check and balance one another other with the result being the safest air transportation system in history. If one of your pilots has an incident or accident, does anyone doubt who management will support in the investigations when the lawsuits start rolling in? (Hint: Stockholders.) Your pilots need representation of them, for them, and by them
We share the vision of service; it is a high calling to represent our fellow aviators. Our first step forward is always for the pilot groups we represent, and I hope that your aviators take ownership in their association and not only choose to stay union, but to get involved in the effort to keep professional aviation the career so many of us always dreamed of having.
Captain Mike Panebianco