This case was last updated from PACER on 10/22/2021 at 05:38:48 (UTC).

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association v. Southwest Airlines Co

Case Summary

On October 20, 2021, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (hereinafter “SWAPA” or “Plaintiff”), represented by Hal K. Gillespie, James Dennis Sanford, and Joseph H. Gillespie of Gillespie Sanford LLP, filed a labor lawsuit against Southwest Airlines Co. (“Southwest Airlines” or “Defendant”), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, together with costs of litigation, for alleged unlawful actions of Defendant to undermine the representation of the union. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas with Judge Karen Gren Scholer presiding. 


In its complaint, Plaintiff alleged that “Over the years, SWAPA demanded a copy of the Check Airmen Guide and was repeatedly refused by Defendant Southwest Airlines. Incredibly, it was not until the mediated negotiations over the most current CBA in 2016 with the National Mediation Board that Defendant Southwest Airlines was finally forced to produce a copy of the Check Airmen Guide to SWAPA. The 2016 CBA was reached after almost five years of contentious labor negotiations and a failed tentative agreement. This was achieved with staunch informational picketing by hundreds of pilots across several bases, including at Defendant Southwest Airlines’ Dallas Love Field headquarters.”


Plaintiff further alleged that “Management expressly forbade pilots from exercising their legal right to participate and engage in protected union activities. SWAPA immediately demanded that Defendant Southwest Airlines retract this FOTM directive. Although eventually retracted, the harm was already done. The FOTM revision served Defendant Southwest Airlines’ goal: to intimidate and dissuade all pilots, especially Check Airmen, from affiliating with and participating in union activities and from serving as officers within SWAPA.”


Plaintiff also alleged that “The actions of Defendant Southwest Airlines referenced herein were motivated by anti-union animus and taken for the purpose of impairing the ability of the Union and its members to function and freely associate, to destroy support for the Union, to weaken the Union and to ultimately destroy it.”


Plaintiff further alleged that “By stripping Captain Roebling’s SCA and Check Airman qualifications in retaliation for his efforts to be active in and fully participate in the Union, Southwest Airlines has interfered and continues to interfere with the rights of employees to organize and bargain collectively, has interfered and continues to interfere with the organization of its employees, has used and continues to use the funds of the carrier in an effort to induce the members of the Union not to join or remain members of the Union, and has interfered and continues to interfere with the right of Union members to freely participate in the activities protected by under the RLA.”


Plaintiff has laid down two claims for relief, the first being SECTION 2, Third of the RLA and the second claim is for SECTION 2, Fourth of the RLA. 


In its prayer for relief, Plaintiff requested the court to grant preliminary injunctive relief enjoining Defendant Southwest Airlines from unlawfully interfering with the Union in its representational capacities. Plaintiff also requested the court to issue injunctive relief enjoining Defendant Southwest Airlines from unlawfully interfering with the Southwest Airlines employees represented by SWAPA and its representatives. Further, Plaintiff requested the court for immediate reinstatement for Union member Tim Roebling. Finally, Plaintiff requested that the court declare that Defendant has infringed the alleged provisions and award SWAPA punitive damages and monetary relief together with prejudgment and post-judgment interest and costs of litigation. 


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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets


Case Details

  • Case Number:


  • Filing Date:


  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Railway Labor Act

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

Karen Gren Scholer


Party Details


Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA)


Southwest Airlines Co

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Hal K Gillespie

Attorney at Gillespie Sanford LLP

4803 Gaston Avenue

Dallas, TX 75246

James Dennis Sanford

Attorney at Gillespie Sanford LLP

4803 Gaston Ave.

Dallas, TX 75246

Joseph H Gillespie

Attorney at Gillespie Sanford LLP

4803 Gaston Ave.

Dallas, TX 75246


Court Documents


1 #1

Cover Sheet


Docket Entries

  • 10/20/2021
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT WITH JURY DEMAND against Southwest Airlines Co filed by Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA). (Filing fee $402; Receipt number 0539-12318910) Clerk to issue summons(es). In each Notice of Electronic Filing, the judge assignment is indicated, and a link to the # Judges Copy Requirements and # Judge Specific Requirements is provided. The court reminds the filer that any required copy of this and future documents must be delivered to the judge, in the manner prescribed, within three business days of filing. Unless exempted, attorneys who are not admitted to practice in the Northern District of Texas must seek admission promptly. Forms, instructions, and exemption information may be found at, or by clicking here: # Attorney Information - Bar Membership. If admission requirements are not satisfied within 21 days, the clerk will notify the presiding judge. (Attachments: #1 Cover Sheet) (Gillespie, Joseph) (Entered: 10/20/2021)

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