The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) has advocated for additional personal protective equipment for IFCs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are glad to see that the Company will provide face shields for your use on the aircraft. For IFCs who choose to use a face shield, this can provide an additional form of protection from exposure to coronavirus.
However, we have notified the company that we disagree with their decision to discontinue restrictions on designating one lavatory solely for crew use, as this could increase all crew members’ infection risk. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) has recently recommended that one lavatory should be designated for crew usage only. We have shared our concerns with JetBlue, and we hope that they will continue to follow that recommendation.
Yesterday, JetBlue announced voluntary “opt-out” and extended leaves for non-union-represented, JetBlue employees as well as “opt-out” and extended “R & R” programs for IFCs. The primary difference between the two work groups is that the “opt-out” programs for non-represented employees contained additional monetary incentives, while the IFC options contained none. The TWU would like to be very clear that your Union was not involved in the development of these programs, and we did not find out about them until a few minutes before they were released to the IFCs. Without a contract in place, there is no prohibition on JetBlue offering monetary incentives for an early out program. The decision to exclude IFCs from the buyout offer was made solely by JetBlue management, with no input from the TWU.
We also wish to address the concerns many of you expressed after today’s Pocket Session. There were topics discussed that your Union found quite concerning. However, even when presented with the exact words that were delivered by members of JetBlue’s leadership team, the TWU was told that we misunderstood them. We are awaiting clarification from JetBlue management on today’s session, particularly about topics of furloughing and seniority. Although we have a tentative agreement with JetBlue management on furloughs, JetBlue is not required to abide by any of those potential, future protections until the contract has been fully ratified.
The TWU and your Negotiating Team (NT) are aware of the severe impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on JetBlue and the entire travel industry. Your NT has made every effort to evaluate priorities to reach an agreement that will protect your rights as an IFC at this time, and for whatever the future holds on our way to recovery from the terrible impacts to our Members. We understand that the only way to do that is with a contract.
We are meeting with JetBlue management next week in an effort to reach an agreement. Please join your NT and advisors on the telephone Town Hall Conference Call, next Friday, where we can give you the most updated information on this process. Please register or ask questions for the call at the TWU/JetBlue IFC website.
Thank you for your patience as we work for answers and resolution, and we will keep you updated.