Southwest flight attendants to protest in Atlanta

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 11: A Southwest Airlines airplane taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Southwest Airlines is working to catch up on a backlog afte

Flight attendants are expected to flock to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday, but it won't be to assist passengers.

Members of TWU Local 556, the union of over 18,000 South West Airlines flight attendants are planning to picket at the airport. They say the want new contracts, and they want them now.

The off-duty employees say they are demanding better pay, safety on the job and improved quality of life.

Protests are planned for 11 bases across the country, including Hartsfield-Jackson.

This demand for change comes about four years after the union says Southwest Airlines was eligible to make amendments to an agreement between the two organizations. Flight attendants say the overwhelming number of delays from the company lately have been worsening on their work conditions, and adjustments need to be made.

Those changes representatives from TWU Local 556 say they are expecting include:

  • Paying flight attendants for time worked, including when passengers are boarding and when flight attendants are required to work outside of hours originally scheduled.
  • Giving flight attendants control over their personal schedules when not at work, allowing them the liberty they deserve to take care of their lives at home.
  • Providing access to food and a safe place to rest when traveling on the job. A lack of hot food and sometimes even hotel rooms leaves flight attendants with little to eat and sometimes sleeping on the airport floor.
  • Fixing technology issues that impact passengers and disproportionately impact frontline aviation workers, including flight attendants.
  • Creating a modern Reserve system that meets the needs of both the operation and employees, and ending the unsafe practice of putting flight attendants on 24-hour on-call shifts.
  • Providing benefits that actually help flight attendants, like health insurance that continues coverage when someone is injured on the job, is battling cancer or had a baby.

You can find more on their list of demands here.