News Release

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Files Federal Suit Challenging Transport Union Discrimination

Union officials retaliate against flight attendant for resigning union membership

Dallas, TX (August 8, 2014) – An Oakland, California-based Southwest Airline (NYSE: LUV) flight attendant has filed a federal lawsuit against a local union for discriminating against him for resigning his union membership.

With free legal assistance from staff attorneys provided by the National Right to Work Foundation, Kent Hand, a flight attendant for 12 years, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

In October 2013, Hand resigned his membership in the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556.

Shortly thereafter, Hand received a phone call from a TWU Local 556 union official informing him that he was being removed from the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team because he resigned his union membership.

The CISM team is a joint employer-union funded, peer-to-peer counselling group for flight attendants who wish to speak confidentially to other flight attendants regarding work-related difficulties. CISM team members are paid during annual training and on-call days, receive highly specialized training, and have the opportunity to meet Southwest senior executives in exchange for volunteering in the program.

The suit alleges TWU Local 556 union officials acted in bad faith and violated their duty of fair representation by punishing Hand for resigning his union membership.

"TWU Local 556 union officials retaliated against Mr. Hand for resigning his union membership," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "No worker should be punished for exercising their statutory or constitutional right to refrain from union membership."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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