Southwest Airlines has imploded in Denver, with the carrier declaring an emergency as operations have suffered a meltdown due to poor weather and inadequate staffing. Sadly, Southwest has responded by threatening employees with termination for not showing up to work.
Southwest Airlines Suffers Operational Meltdown In Denver
Thousands of flights have been canceled over the last few days due to winter weather, but Southwest is uniquely suffering in Denver due to a combination of bad weather and an unusually high number of staff calling in sick.
The staff shortage is so severe that Southwest had to turn around a plane from Tampa on Thursday because there was no ground staff to accommodate it:
this SW flight had to turn around and go back to Tampa as there were no rampers at DEN available for it to land there:https://t.co/P3WJl7EhCB
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) December 24, 2022
Now the carrier has circulated a memo to staff at Denver with a stern warning: no personal leave and no calling in sick without substantial proof.
Things seem to be going well at southwest pic.twitter.com/5ChyDpAxv9
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) December 24, 2022
- Employees who are claiming to be ill must provide a doctor’s note on the first day they return to work, indicating when the doctor was seen, and confirming that the employee was unable to work on the days of the claimed illness
- Telemedicine appointments do not count
- Failure to comply with these requirements will be considered “insubordination” and “abuse of sick leave” and therefore constitute grounds for termination
- Southwest is denying any requests for personal leave
- Invoking a contractual provision, Southwest will require mandatory overtime, regardless of an employee’s status
- Failure to work overtime will also result in termination
That’s quite a draconian policy and so stupid on many levels. Telemedicine is the way doctors are seen today. How does it make sense to go in and see a doctor when you are sick and can accomplish the same thing without going out, which protects you, the doctor, and the medical staff? Furthermore, does anyone really expect a doctor’s office to even be open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Is it really constructive to sit for hours in an emergency room or urgent care center for a piece of paper testifying that an employee is actually sick?
I agree with One Mile At A Time that the pandemic should have taught us that we should stay home if we’re not feeling well, to help protect others; Southwest is encouraging sick people to come to work here.
If this is an organized effort by labor to torpedo Southwest, then shame on the union(s), but “the beatings will continue until morale improves” approach will not work. Southwest is setting a bad precedent by failing to account for what so many are expecting right now: colds, flu, or COVID-19.
My German wife looks at stories like this and shakes her head–for all the problems of the labor system in Germany, asking people to come in when sick is not one of them…
Southwest is suffering an operational meltdown in Denver right now that is being exacerbated by staff calling in sick. In response, Southwest has threatened to terminate employees who do not show up to work or who claim sickness without physically visiting a doctor’s office. This is madness and will not help alleviate the problems Southwest is currently experiencing at Denver International Airport.
image: Denver International Airport
How is terminating employees going to help the staffing situation say a week from now? Maybe southwest built up their operation a little too much too fast at Denver. Are they having these problems at MDW?
Nothing in the local news here in Chicago about meltdowns at MDW. All quiet on the airport front, north and south.
I have sympathy for sick people but not people using sick leave as a vacation day which some people do.
Southwest as all of the airlines have had major issues for a long time now.
Given the horrible weather in Denver the last few days, it is quite possible that some Southwest workers are calling in sick because they can’t get to work. Denver . temporarily suspended its mandate that people shovel their sidewalks it was so bad. Today is better and, hopefully, Southwest can get its act together.
Sorry to sound harsh, but spouse flew for SWA for a couple decades. Calling in “Sick” was a common and overused ploy to simply not show up to work. “BS % Rate” of sick calls was estimated at over 80%.
Requiring doctor notes obviated the situation.
While trying to be decent for the Holidays, I think we all agree JonNYC is an asshole of the highest degree.
That said, I thought Southwest was the airline of fun times and joy? I will never understand why anyone that visits this site cares about SW. Fighting for status to get on the plane earlier to pick your shitty main cabin seat goes against everything we do.
They are Spirit, Allegiant and Frontiers competition, not the airlines we fly.
I don’t get why you would call him that. We have a great relationship.
We can start with the Ukrainian flag but hey, it’s Christmas Eve, I’ll keep going on Monday.
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays Matt and to everyone on here.
Where’s the articles about delta over 500 cancels today !
All this leaving travelers stranded without any help, offering to rebook 3 days later!
No telemedicine is the lazy way lazy people see the doctor. Get your butt off the couch, and get your paperwork from doc to get off time of work.
The pandemic should have taught us a lot but the one thing it hasn’t changed is how companies and their millionaire ceos will always try to screw over the employees
I worked for Southwest and this issues go back a few years. They put a great front making it look fun but the bottom line is that they treat employees like garbage.
They have too many flights and not enough personnel.
They expect to unload and load a plane in 20-30 minutes with only 3 people. It is absurd!!!! more so when temps are 100 or 0 degrees.
Abuse of the mandatory OT constantly. Some agents are there 20-24 hours (HOW IS THAT SAFE).
Oh the stories I can tell of personnel abuse!!!
I can see right through this as well. I can’t believe the author doesn’t. The fake “I’m sick” call to not have to go to work on a cold miserable day. It’s as simple as that. Wake up dude.
Klint misses an obvious point within his narrative which is the fact that long-term Southwest employees acknowledge that “sick time abuse” has been an issue for years. “Southwest is encouraging sick people to come to work here.” And how do you know this exactly? Maybe they’re encouraging non-sick people to stop abusing a traditionally lenient policy. Furthermore, telehealth is pure stupidity unless a face-to-face option is truly not available. Vitals cannot be taken. Labs cannot be drawn. It’s essentially “hey how do you feel? Oh you’re sick? Sorry bruh. Go ahead and take the day off.”
My daughter was one of those passengers. Her flight, 804 on 12/21/22 was turned around 1/2 way from El Paso to Denver, then flight cancelled, put on another one the next morning at 10 am, refused to give ANY passenger their luggage, and after spending a night on the terminal floor, cancelled the 10 am too! Two employees deliberately lied to her, saying her luggage had already gone to Tulsa, when it didn’t. I’m sick and tired of hearing people excusing everything with the “if you don’t feel well, stay home” bit. They are USING THIS AS AN EXCUSE not to go to work. Yet the hourly people are working while the salaried get paid no matter whether they go to work or not. ABUSE of the “sickness” thing is rampant! Everyone calls in at the least little sniffle. But, while they stayed home (and I’m betting the vast majority were not sick) with their families, thousands of ditched passengers lined the DIA floor! These people wanted to be home with their families, too, but it’s obvious Southwest doesn’t care. Instead of apologizing, they ruined thousands of Christmases across America! My daughter said she didn’t understand why all the other airlines had no problem flying out of DIA. There was no explanation and no apology but lies to their faces. When we finally picked her up at Tulsa, thanks to Delta, we stood in line an hour to get her luggage only to be told, it was still in DENVER! Government has put such fear into the people about covid, that they stay home at the least tiny little sniffle. And, the at home covid tests? If you are positive, you should show that when you return to work!
It should be pretty clear this is BS. Yes, there is an uptick in colds, flus, etc going around the country. But that’s just it – it is on a national level. And yet, most workers can still show up to their respective airports, except for Denver? Right.
So now it’s fine to work with COVID, As deadly and awful as the famed coronavirus is? The whiplash with y’all is truly next level.
I like this blog. Much helpful information. But words like ‘meltdown’ and ‘imploded’ are just hyperbole! Just tired of seeing these words all the time in everyday media.
Merry Christmas to all!