Southwest Airlines forced to cancel 1800+ weekend flights one day after pilots’ union filed for a restraining order on vaccine mandate

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that pilots at Southwest Airlines are protesting their company’s move to require Covid vaccinations, even though the company and their own union deny it. Over the past weekend, Southwest was forced to cancel over 1800 flights:

The Dallas-based carrier canceled over 1,000 flights Sunday and 808 flights Saturday equivalent to 27 per cent of its entire schedule for the day, over the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

Prior to the arrival of Covid, Southwest was the largest carrier of passengers in the United States. I don’t know if that is still the case because the pace of recovery of airline operations has been uneven. But undeniably, Southwest is a major presence in domestic air travel.

Southwest is the only carrier so massively affected by cancellations.

On Sunday, American Airlines also canceled two per cent of its flights while Spirit Airlines axed two per cent of theirs, according to FlightAware.

From Twitter via the UKDM

Last Friday, the pilots’ union at Southwest filed for a restraining order preventing the company from enforcing a vaccine mandate, as has already been enforced at United, American Alaska, and Jet Blue Airlines.

However, the union president is denying that its pilots are walking off the job to protest the forced participation in an experimental genetic therapy.

The president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) blamed the flight woes on staffing and a “poorly run operation.”

This, however, appears to be eyewash, a safeguard against being accused of an illegal work stoppage. Alex Berenson received a communication from a Southwest pilot explaining:

The pilot emailed following the first Southwest post today (and provided his SWA ID to prove his identity). He asked that I paraphrase the email.

Essentially, the union cannot organize or even acknowledge the sickout, because doing so would make it an illegal job action. Years ago, Southwest and its pilots had a rough negotiation, and the union would not even let the pilots internally discuss the possibility of working-to-rule (which would have slowed Southwest to a crawl).

But at the moment the pilots don’t even have to talk to each other about what they’re doing. The anger internally - not just among pilots but other Southwest workers - is enormous. The tough prior negotiations notwithstanding, Southwest has a history of decent labor relations, and workers believe the company should stand up for them against the mandate. Telling pilots in particular to comply or face termination has backfired.

Meanwhile, Southwest has more flexibility than it has acknowledged. Federal contracts represent about 3 percent of its revenue, but even the Biden administration CANNOT alter existing contracts (please note, I have not checked this, though it seems reasonable); Southwest is only at risk of losing future contracts.

Another instance of air traffic disruption, attributed by some to the vax mandates but officially denied, took place at the Jacksonville Air Traffic Control Center. News4JAX:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) blamed widespread flight cancellations this weekend on bad weather and air traffic control issues in Jacksonville.

The FAA on Sunday afternoon said the flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday evening due to widespread severe weather, military training and “limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville en route center.” (snip)

News4Jax asked the FAA and called the Air Traffic Control center in Hilliard asking if the vaccination mandate has anything to do with these delays, but we haven’t heard back. (snip)

Both the FAA and Southwest Airlines pointed to problems or limited staffing at the Air Traffic Control Centers.

Airline pilots have more leverage than most workers because it takes so long to train them. Most – some estimate 80% of Southwest’s pilots – come out of the military. That’s why former military and commercial pilot and Congressional candidate Buzz Patterson was contemptuous of a suggestion that replacements could be found:

Sundance points to the larger issue at stake:

[T]his is not about vaccines per se’, this is more about a slippery slope of having the government dictate how you can live your life and earn a living.

If they can force you to have a medical procedure, and then carry documentation of that procedure in order to work… why can’t they force you to get a small electronic implant of your identification, which would coincidentally include your medical authorizations for work?

It’s just a metal detector…. it’s just taking off your shoes… it’s just wearing a mask…. it’s just a vaccination….. it’s just a COVID passport… it’s always, “just”.

He adds something that I believe is perhaps the key:

Factually I do not believe a federal mandate for a vaccine is even possible or legal. It appears to me that all of Biden’s threats in this regard are simply that, threats.

The purpose of the threat is to push people to take the vaccine without actually attempting a legal federal mandate; and that approach so far has been successful. However, now they are going to encounter the more hard-core groups who will not concede liberty or freedom to a federal mandate.

Support for this view comes from Kyle Becker:

One month after the Biden administration announced a draconian federal vaccine mandate that impacted an estimated 100 million Americans and led to mass firings of public servants, teachers, and medical workers, the federal regulation still has not been formally issued.

The Federalist reported on the ongoing fiasco in a post on Thursday that noted, “Joe Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Doesn’t Exist. It’s Just A Press Release”:

Biden’s so-called vaccine mandate doesn’t exist — at least, not yet. So far, all we have is his press conference and other such made-for-media huff-puffing. No such rule even claiming to be legally binding has been issued yet.

That’s why nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general who have publicly voiced their opposition to the clearly unconstitutional and illegal mandate haven’t yet filed suit against it, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General confirmed for me. There is no mandate to haul into court. And that may be part of the plan.

According to several sources, so far it appears no such mandate has been sent to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs yet for approval. The White House, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Labor haven’t released any official guidance for the alleged mandate. There is no executive order. There’s nothing but press statements.

Interestingly, another essential transportation provider dependent on highly skilled workers is also canceling trips. KING5 TV Seattle reports:

Widespread delays and cancellations are plaguing Washington State Ferries this weekend, as the system deals with ongoing crew shortages.

It’s a dynamic situation and passengers are advised to check the ferry alerts before taking a trip.

Several sailings on the San Juan Islands routes were canceled Saturday and Sunday. WSF said some vehicle reservations were canceled and standby spots remain very limited.

As everyone by now knows, truckers, port employees, and others necessary to the movement of essential goods are also in short supply, causing escalating disruption and shortages for all sorts of materials. This may be part of a growing resistance movement that the corporate media will never acknowledge. Sundance sums it up:

Remember, almost all of these leftists and elite-minded communists who now operate as Democrats have no capacity for self-sufficiency. If the working class stops picking up their trash; stops mowing their lawns, shopping for them, doing their cleaning and essentially facilitating their lives, this entire group of people cannot function.

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