BALTIMORE – Southwest Airlines pilots will be on the picket line Thursday at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The pilots will be protesting at five of America’s busiest airports.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) says they have been trying for three years to reach an agreement with the airline, and 99 percent of union members voted in May in favor of a strike.

Southwest pilots will also picket at Los Angeles International, Hartsfield Jackson International (Atlanta), Houston Hobby and Chicago Midway airports. 

SWAPA says they are the last major airline without an agreement in principle and “have lost hundreds of pilots to other carriers already this year.” They also say negotiations have lasted for 3 1/2 years.

“Our pilots deserve a contract that befits the most productive pilots in the industry, and we have been attempting to get Southwest to realize that their delay in reaching an agreement is causing irreparable harm not just to our pilots, but to the airline itself. We are willing to take the RLA process all the way to its conclusion to ensure that our airline and our pilots have secure futures,” said SWAPA President Captain Casey Murray. “Southwest Airlines simply cannot afford to sit idly by while every other carrier continues to reward their pilots and lure them away with better contracts and benefits.”

This comes as flight attendants at American Airlines voted to strike while fighting for a new contract with pay raises and more staffing on flights.

The airline recently reached a deal with pilots that gives them a 21 percent raise and a 46 percent raise by 2027.

The strike vote is largely symbolic because there are many steps that have to take place before an actual strike can happen.

 Off-duty flight attendants are already holding informational picketing events at a dozen of airports to put pressure on their employers.