Southwest Airlines is eager to fill its open positions and end staff shortages, especially with its flight attendants.
Now it just needs to come to terms on a new contract with their union.
The carrier has hired more than 3,000 new flight attendants this year alone, according to a story on CNBC, and said it has another 7,000 flight attendant candidates ready to be contacted and interviewed.
That’s a positive, proactive signal for the airline and the industry as it struggles to rebound from a multitude of problems, including delays and cancellations caused by a massive worldwide aviation shortage of workers, from pilots to baggage handlers. United Airlines has also been on something of a hiring spree lately as well, using popular job fairs in its home base of Chicago to attract and recruit job candidates.
CNBC noted that Southwest said it now has 62,000 full-time equivalent employees – up from 60,800 in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 – and including triple the amount of flight attendants it had in 2018.
The airline must still cut a deal with the flight attendants’ union, however. The two sides have been in a showdown and will meet with a federal mediator starting on November 1 in the hopes of breaking the impasse.
Both Southwest and United flight attendants were scheduled to picket airports today, Tuesday, September 27, in a ‘day of protest’ over contract negotiations.