An open letter to CEO Gary Kelly
Southwest's Big Choice
It’s time to embrace the national discussion instead of finger pointing who’s to blame over last weekend’s melt down. The elephant in the room IS the mandate and the termination of thousands of employees and disruption of air travel after Nov 24th. Amazingly, Southwest Airlines finds itself at the center of what is likely one of the most pivotal moments of our lifetimes and nation! There is no going back to “normal” or whatever you want to call pre-October 4th when the mandate was announced. There are two paths, two choices, that senior leaders can embrace as a company.
Choice 1: “There is nothing we can do about the mandate”.
We continue to uphold and force compliance with the mandate. Thousands of employees will make their stand, lose their jobs or be sidelined by exemptions across all departments. Our holiday schedule will be a complete disaster and make last weekend or any other operational meltdown seem insignificant in comparison. Those that remain will bear the brunt of endless JAs, passenger anger, and what remains of the Southwest brand will be completely destroyed in a matter of months.
An emboldened Federal Government WILL pass laws requiring all passengers to be vaccinated for air travel. As of Oct 11th, according to the Mayo Clinic, 56.6% of the country is fully vaxxed. A struggling recovery will be decimated as a significant percentage of our customers, the unvaxxed, are sidelined due to continued government overreach. All of Southwest’s plans for next year - new hires, new aircraft, route expansion - come to a screeching halt as the company tries to remain viable. Too harsh? Maybe… but not unrealistic in the slightest.
Choice 2: “We reject the lie that there is nothing we can do about the mandate."
We stand united in opposition of the mandate and drive change in our government. There is a great awakening taking place across this country to the dangers posed by tyrannical mandates and the American public is rallying to our cause. No one should be faced with the loss of their career and economic destruction over a mandate. This is America, we do not have a king. We are nation with a government purposefully encumbered with checks and balances. That system is in peril.
Humorously enough, we are the company of flag ties, “Freedom One”, and pride ourselves on the type of principled people with a “Warrior Spirit” that we hire. We had an entire ad campaign with the tagline “you are now FREE to move about the country”. Perhaps it’s not by accident that our company, of all companies, now finds itself at the center of national discussion on the right and the freedom to choose. How ironic is it that our employees are willing to stand up and face termination for the very values and principles they were hired for and this company supposedly embraces?!
Choose to make a stand for all of our employees and re-engage with the White House on the contract terms or scrap it altogether. Our business will grow exponentially as millions of Americans who have rallied to our cause scramble to fly on the “freedom airline”. We will not have enough airplanes and crews to keep up with demand. The nation is rooting for us to get this right- to win this battle before it comes to their doorstep and they are faced with the same terrible choice. Ed Bastian is watching. Doug Parker is watching. The politicians in DC and the President of the United States are watching. This is our chance to truly become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline. This is a historic moment – what will your legacy be Mr. Kelly?