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High-Flying Labor Relations at Southwest Airlines

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Southwest Airlines is a company that aims at having happy management, employees and customers. Unlike some companies, Southwest welcomes the idea of their employees being members of a labor union, agreeing that they need someone to speak for them in an effective way. Sure there are still some issues and differences that need to be worked out but that is what the union is there for.

Review/Analysis of the Case
As with any relationship, there is going to be goals and issues that the parties involved agree with and ones they do not agree with. The mission of Southwest Airlines to their employees is that they are committed to provide their employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of the airlines. Above all, employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Airlines customer (Southwest, 1988). That is a pretty strong and solid mission statement to their employees that they completely back up.

The flight attendants union says that at Southwest, “we have some of the best working conditions in the industry” (Noe, Hollenbeck, Wright, & Gerhart, 2013). With both the employees’ unions and management making such a bold statements it shows that they are on the same page and agree with one another. However, there are some conflicts between them also. Two of the first few conflicts tackled by the union was the need for written work rules and to not be required to wear hot pants as part of their uniforms. With those union victories, they were well on their way to becoming “the most unionized airline ” (Noe, Hollenbeck, Wright, & Gerhart, 2013).

Of course I would say yes, Southwest’s labor relations absolutely have helped to promote the company’s sustainability! If the employees are content and happy with their work conditions, wages, and benefits that the management has offered or that has been negotiated through the union then that makes for the union and managements happiness also. Therefore, when all is well and happy in house, it flows over into the attitudes and approaches the employees have with the customers and travelers. In other words, it makes for a happy management team, unions, employees, customers, and society .

The employees of AirTran should be grateful that Southwest merged with their company so that they were not out of their jobs. Southwest was the organization that was able to survive the recession and still successfully move forward out of it. With that said and the fact Southwest is the larger of companies , I believe AirTran should transition into Southwest’s unions .

Summary and Conclusions
In conclusion, Southwest Airlines management knows how important it is for them to work with the labor unions in order to have happy employees. They recognize that when they have happy employees they have great attitudes to the customers. This makes for happy customers. Then of course, by making their customers happy they are building that road of loyalty with the customers. Which then leads to a successful company!

Noe, R., Hollenbeck, J., Wright, P., & Gerhart, B., (2013). Fundamentals of human resource management (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions.

Southwest (1988). The Mission of Southwest Airlines To Our Employees. Retrieved on June 10, 2014 from: http://www.southwest.com/html/about-southwest/index.html

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