Southwest Workers Protest As They Worry About Their Jobs - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Southwest Workers Protest As They Worry About Their Jobs

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Workers at Southwest Airlines who are usually found on the tarmac or scanning your ticket before you board, were found handing out flyers outside the airport on Friday.

A handful of them who live here spent Friday protesting to draw awareness to a concern that their jobs could be affected and in turn the customer service could too.

"We're trying to inform the people that Southwest is looking to outsource our jobs," said Michael Puckett, a Southwest employee and the Panama City Representative for the Transportation Workers Union 555.

Since Southwest began contract negotiations in July 2011,  the TWU 555, comprised of ground worker employees for Southwest, says there have been proposals to outsource some of their jobs to temporary contract workers.

"In a statement from Southwest, spokeswoman Brandy King says "the airline is not looking to outsource current Southwest jobs." The statement goes on to say "we need the ability to add flexibility by utilizing part-time and seasonal Employees when extra help is needed at certain times of the day, week and year. "

'Everybody here is worried about their jobs," said Puckett. "They keep telling us not to worry, but from what we're hearing and what's coming from the grapevine, and everything, we need to worry."

Puckett has worked for Southwest for 22 years and in Bay County since 2010.

"I work the ramp which is unload load the airplanes, take care of the freight and everything," said Puckett.

It's a job he enjoys and worries could be affected, whether it be taken away or he be transferred elsewhere.

"You know, people have families and are dedicated," said Puckett. "You know this is their home."

It's a home Southwest employee Jackson Knox loves very much.

"I love Panama City Beach," said Knox. "This is great."

Knox has made sure luggage follows its travelers as they fly for the past 11 years.

"This is my job, I love it, a great company," said Knox. "We just wanna keep working and provide the best customer service we can."

Southwest said in a statement: "We continue to actively participate in discussions, making every effort to reach agreements with our unions that are rewarding, flexible, and secure. We've taken care of our Employees for 42 years and we will continue to do so."