The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said pilots with the airline voted to authorize a strike, with 99% of the pilots voting in favor.
The strike authorization vote was seen as a referendum gauging sentiment on how the union and pilots feel pay negotiations have been going, with 98% of pilots participating in the vote, SWAPA said.
SWAPA President Casey Murray, said, “The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point. Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers.”
While the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of a strike, federal law has barriers in place that would present a challenge for airline unions to fully authorize a strike.
Southwest said the vote would not affect scheduled flights, or operations like plane maintenance.
On Friday United Airlines pilots expressed frustration after working without a raise for over four years amid ongoing negotiations. Strike authorizations were voted on by pilots with American Airlines as well.
The cost of airline tickets is up as the height of the summer season in the U.S. fast approaches. For those who choose to drive this summer instead of fly, the good news is the price of gasoline is expected to stay down compared to high spikes in recent years and months.