TWU/JetBlue IFC News and Updates

from CNBC

JetBlue’s roughly 5,000 flight attendants have voted to unionize, the New York-based airline said on Tuesday.

“While we respect the outcome of the election, we are disappointed in this result because we believe the direct relationship is superior to third-party representation,” JetBlue said in a statement. The airline’s pilots have already unionized and the flight attendants’ vote means they will soon start negotiating with the carrier a contract that could include pay standards and job protection.

Most U.S. airlines’ crews are unionized and JetBlue had been a non-union airline until its pilots voted to unionize in 2014. Delta Air Lines’ flight attendants are not unionized, a rarity in the industry.

The flight attendants voted 2,661 to 1,387 to join the Transport Workers Union, the labor group said.

“The crewmembers want and deserve job security, representation and due process in disciplinary cases, improved wages and benefits, and a seat at the table in case of possible merger or acquisition,” said TWU.

“As we move forward, we will work to come together around our mission to inspire humanity that has set JetBlue apart from other airlines since day one,” JetBlue said.

from NY Daily News

The push to unionize nearly 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants took off Tuesday.

Flight attendants voted 2,661 to 1,387 in favor of joining the Transport Workers Union, according to the National Mediation Board, which oversaw the electronic balloting.

The union headed by John Samuelsen pressed hard to organize the airline staffers.

The no-frills airline opposed the idea.

“TWU is an opportunistic and negative third party,” flyers to staff from the airline said.

JetBlue flight attendants voted to unionize on Tuesday.
JetBlue flight attendants voted to unionize on Tuesday. (Courtesy of TWU)

But workers rejected that argument.

Before the vote, some pointed out that they hoped the union would negotiate a set disciplinary process that would block bosses from punishing flight attendants without proof or reason.

JetBlue angered staffers after the airline began to offer flyers $25 for turning in flight attendants who used their cell phones during a flight or violated another company regulation.

In total, the TWU represents more than 140,000 workers in the airline, railroad, mass transit, utilities and service industries throughout the country.

American Airlines pilots joined TWU workers from JFK and LaGuardia airports during a protest in Manhattan in October 2017.
American Airlines pilots joined TWU workers from JFK and LaGuardia airports during a protest in Manhattan in October 2017. (Gregg Vigliotti/For New York Daily News)

Samuelsen hailed the winning vote.

“This historic victory is yet another example of the tide turning in America as workers collectively fight back to defend their livelihoods,” he said in a statement. “The United States trade union movement is the greatest vehicle for the economic security of working families that this country has ever seen, and more Americans are recognizing this every day.”

The union hopes “to immediately commence contract bargaining with JetBlue,” he added. “It is our sincerest wish that the company comes to the table and bargains a fair and just contract with the workers they employ. But if JetBlue refuses to bargain in good faith, this union is prepared to engage in a fightback campaign that will continue until a contract is secured and the Inflight Crewmembers are protected.”

from Bloomberg

JetBlue Airways Corp. flight attendants voted to join the Transport Workers Union, becoming only the second employee group represented by organized labor at the New York-based carrier.

Flight attendants voted 2,661 to 1,387 in favor of joining the TWU, the union said in an emailed statement Tuesday. Two earlier attempts to organize the group failed, although those efforts didn’t get to a vote. JetBlue aviatorsjoined the Air Line Pilots Association in 2014 and still are negotiating their initial contract.

Adding another collective-bargaining unit raises the prospect of higher costs at JetBlue as it negotiates pay rates and new, less flexible work rules for its 4,800 flight attendants. The carrier for years has touted the value of its “direct relationship” with employees over having to work through unions.

The flight attendants sought representation, in part, to improve wages and increase job protection — particularly in the event of any mergers involving JetBlue — and to have a voice in lobbying policy makers on issues affecting the industry.

JetBlue was little changed at $19.76 at 2:48 p.m. in New York.

The biggest U.S. airlines typically have at least four unions, representing pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ramp workers.

“We believe that working together, not through a third party, results in faster, better outcomes for our crew members,” JetBlue said in a statement before the vote. “We are a small player in an industry dominated by four large carriers, and want everyone at JetBlue united on fighting the competition, not each other.”

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