On November 19, 2015, Southwest filed a lawsuit in Texas federal court alleging that its below-wing agents, represented by TWU Local 555, had engaged in (and planned to continue) an unlawful job action. Southwest stated that TWU had orchestrated mass absences at certain Southern California stations and planned additional similar actions during the Thanksgiving holiday. TWU disputed any illegal activity – “[a]ll we’re having are regional meetings to discuss our options under the Railway Labor Act. We had one meeting in California, where we had more than triple the expected attendance. That’s how frustrated our members are.” The Local union president added, “a lot of our members haven’t had a raise in five years.”
The Southwest-TWU agreement reopened for negotiations in 2011. While the NMB had been mediating the dispute since 2012, it recessed those discussions in 2014. Southwest stated in its lawsuit that since that time, the parties had not met but for one single brief meeting in October 2015.