TWU COVID-19 Update—03-31-2020

Hello, {{ FirstName | default: ‘JetBlue IFCs’ }},

On Friday, March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. This legislation, which the TWU was instrumental in advancing, provides direct grants to airlines to pay 100% of employee wages and benefits and prohibits airlines from involuntarily furloughing employees until at least September 30, 2020. In exchange, airlines that accept the grants must agree to no stock buybacks or shareholder dividends through 2021 and caps on executive compensation through 2022; in addition, the government may or may not take an uncontrolled interest in the airline for a short time.

At this time, we are awaiting the issuance of the final terms for the grants. JetBlue has not announced whether they will be accepting the grants; however, the conditions the government has placed seem to be a small price to pay to secure the jobs of all JetBlue employees and to give our industry and company a chance to recover. We will keep you updated as we receive additional information.

We continue to work diligently to implement procedures to protect our IFCs during this pandemic. In addition to securing employment leave protections to allow IFCs who are exposed and/or test positive for COVID-19 to avoid accruing attendance points, Management has agreed to the following:

  • Allowing IFCs to wear gloves and masks
  • Expanded and reopened R&R
  • Agreed not to contest unemployment claims during R&R
  • Expanded Crewflex
  • Agreed to hold disciplinary meetings by telephone with a Peer Observer
  • Changed recurrent training and safety demo procedures
  • Limited service to reduce customer contact
  • Capped flight loads
  • Attempted to seat passengers to allow social distancing
  • Retroactively discontinued critical coverage attendance points during Level 3 IROPs caused by cancellations

Additionally, we are continuing to advocate for, and awaiting answers from Management, regarding the following:

  • Temporary discontinuation of Blue Turns
  • Guaranteed, adequate amount of wipes and hand sanitizers on the aircraft
  • Guaranteed deep cleaning of all aircraft
  • Allowing IFCs to drop to zero hours through the Tradeboard
  • Allowing IFCs to sit in passenger seats instead of jumpseats to comply with social distancing guidelines during critical phases of flight
  • Designation of one lavatory on each aircraft for crew use only
  • Guaranteed social distancing when traveling to and from airports

We understand that these are important issues to you, and we continue to work to implement these important changes.

We are aware that many IFCs are frustrated by the numerous schedule changes JetBlue is making every day. While we understand the need for managing the operation due to load factors, we are awaiting answers from Management on a number of scheduling issues including:

  • Respecting seniority during reschedules
  • Not assigning ASB during extended ground time and providing hotel rooms when requested
  • Respecting pairing footprints for RSL and reschedules
  • Releasing IFCs from RSL when there are adequate Reserves
  • Not moving up report times

We know that our Company is falling under Level 3 IROP conditions due to cancellations. This does not mean, however, that work rules go out the window. When there are adequate Reserves and aircraft available, every effort should be made to uphold the current work rules.

We have heard reports that the media has made inquiries of crew members from various airlines requesting comments on COVID-19 and the airline response to it. If you are contacted by the media, please do not comment and refer the inquiry to our Union. Always make sure you are in compliance with JetBlue’s media policy.

If you have any questions, concerns, or recommendations, please contact your Union. As you continue in our front line battle for the future of both our company and our profession, remember you are providing a vital service that is essential to transporting personnel and supplies where they are needed most. Your Union is working very hard to address the needs of all IFCs to provide the protection and resources you deserve. Please continue to follow all CDC recommendations and stay safe. We will make it through this crisis together.