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Southwest Airlines pilots picket for contract negotiations

Southwest Airlines pilots picket for negotiations (Sandra Gonzalez | KSNV News 3)

Southwest Airlines pilots are upset they didn't get a contract and now they're letting everyone know. Hundreds of them flew here to Las Vegas on their day off to protest.

The pilots want more: more pay, better retirement, and other benefits. And they brought their issues before the public for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon.

Southwest is McCarran's biggest airline. And a lot of passengers like Robin Billingslea 'luv' them and the pilots.

"Our lives are in their hands, they should get everything they need so we can get what we need and get where we need to go safely," Billingslea says.

Wednesday afternoon, 350 pilots from the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association held an informational picket near the Orleans Hotel Casino. They want everyone to know they want a contract.

Of course the big issues: pay, retirement, back pay and quality of life.

"We love our company and we're out here because we want to bring our company and our pilots back together. We want to give our company avenues so that we can trust them again," says union president Jon Weaks.

"There will be no travel disruptions. The second thing, we love our airline and we're out here doing this to stop the monetization of our culture from taking the soul of our airline," said Weaks.

The union hopes they will work something out when they resume talks next month.

Southwest Airlines says union negotiators walked away when they had offered pilots the highest pay rate in the industry.

Passenger Cindy O'Neill hopes they can get it all settled.

"I think it's good for them. I mean they need a retirement. They need better benefits. They do a very stressful job. I mean I can't imagine trying to fly a plane full of all those passengers through all the elements of the weather and everything else, and I hope they can get their benefits," O'Neill says.

Not all like unions. We found a passenger with opposite opinions who chose not to speak on camera.

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