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Southwest Airlines sues mechanics' union over grounded planes

By Leslie Josephs, CNBC

Mar 01, 2019

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Southwest Airlines on Thursday alleged in a lawsuit that its mechanics' union is encouraging the workers to purposefully write up minor maintenance issues in order keep jets out of service to gain leverage in contract talks.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Dallas, intensified the feud between the low-cost airline and its mechanics. Southwest has canceled hundreds of flights this month as the number of out-of-service jets more than doubled. The two have been in contract negotiations for more than six years.

The lawsuit against the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association called the action illegal and said that it would cause "irreparable injury" to Southwest and the public if it wasn't stopped.

Southwest normally plans to have about 20 planes out of service each day, a spokesman said. The lawsuit said it had 51 planes out of service on Wednesday and 45 on Tuesday.

The AMFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has recently denied Southwest's allegations after the airline said it would investigate the issue.