Figgle-ding the operative parts of the memo – from the office of Chris Johnson, the airline’s vice president in charge of airport operations – said ’employees who call in sick will be fired (in the absence of a hand-delivered note from a doctor)’ ) )…’. The airline also canceled all personal leave, according to Feigl-Ding, and said employees who refused to work overtime would be fired.
“I Don’t Understand This Southwest Airline Memo to Airport Employees—
1) Employees who call in sick will be fired if a doctor has not personally noted an illness (virtual doc not valid!) 2) No personal leave. Otherwise it’s over! 3) Refusal to work overtime ==> termination!
The memo shared by Feigl-Ding cited ‘an obligation to customers and our fellow employees’ and claimed a state of ‘operational emergency’ that would remain in place until it was resolved (a) Memo (Chris ) is not removed by Johnson) advice of the same (to you).
“This is not the type of communication I (or any other leader) want to issue, but it is necessary to get agents back on track to serve our customers.”
Bloomberg reported that the airline had confirmed the authenticity of the memo (and others in circulation) and had apologized to customers for the distress.
The Dallas-based, home-focused carrier typically has a strong rapport with consumers, but over the last week and a half it took an exploratory-sounding rebuke on social media.
‘If I were you…’: employee’s warning
Labor leaders have also highlighted the horror stories of stranded passengers and airline employees.
Mike Sage, a businessman, told AFP news agency “it’s a complete meltdown” and he stood in line for two hours for a ticket that came with a warning.
“When[the attendant]gave me the ticket, she looked me in the eye and said: ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t even trust this flight. I’d be booking with another airline. Our crew are stranded everywhere. The pilot is sleeping on the floor in airports.’,” he told AFP.
the storm that ravaged the southwest
It all started with a brutal winter storm that broke out before Christmas (and killed more than 50 people in the US) that affected all airlines in that country. However, while American Airlines and United Airlines seemed to be returning to normal as of Tuesday, Southwest was struggling.
By December 23, 90 percent of Southwest’s routes were affected and then the employee scheduling system broke down—pilots were either out of position or on rest under US aviation safety regulations, leaving the airline with the option of canceling more flights. There was no other option.
More than 10,600 flights were canceled in the five days before Christmas and the two days following the holiday, AFP reported.
US government response
“The cancellation and delay rates on Southwest Airlines are unacceptable and dramatically higher than other carriers,” the US Department of Transportation told AFP, adding that the airline was committed to compensating passengers and doing ‘right’ by its employees. She hopes
US President Joe Biden retweeted the agency’s statement and Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, said her panel would investigate.
“The problems in the South West for the past several days are beyond the weather… The committee will look into the causes of these disruptions and its impact…”
Southwest has apologized for the debacle and described the inconvenience caused to customers as ‘unacceptable’ and labor unions have pointed to chronic underinvestment as a problem caused by the storm.
with inputs from agencies