TWU COVID-19 Update—04-07-2020

The TWU is fully engaged in COVID-19 fight to protect our Members. Please see this recent video by TWU International President John Samuelsen and a letter we sent yesterday to the FAA and OSHA demanding protection for our Members. The TWU is also working collaboratively with other airline unions and with elected leaders to ensure that the CARES Act is administered to meet its intended goal of direct payment of airline salaries and benefits.

We have linked to two letters to U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin; one from six unions, representing over 400,000 airline workers and one from Congressional leaders. Both letters urge Secretary Mnuchin to use the CARES funding solely for its intended purposes and request that the administration avoids placing unnecessary restrictions on airlines that receive the grants.

JetBlue Management announced on Friday that they would be offering COVID-19 leaves, which include varying levels of compensation depending on the length of the leave awarded, to replace R&R leaves. While we did not negotiate these leaves, Management did notify the TWU.

After the COVID-19 leaves were announced, the TWU received several questions from IFCs requesting answers to assist them in deciding whether to take a COVID-19 leave or not, and, if so, for how long. We received the following responses from Management:

  • There are many IFCs who didn’t realize the severity of the situation and would like the opportunity to change their Pay Model Selection. Will the Company consider reopening the Pay Model Selection?

    The Company has provided several opportunities for IFCs to change their Pay Model Selection. Unfortunately, the Company cannot provide another opportunity to change the Pay Model Selection as it would drive additional costs at a time where keeping costs to a minimum is paramount.

  • Many IFCs view the loss of PTO as diluting the leaves to the point that they aren’t desirable. Is it possible to allow IFCs to continue PTO accrual while on COVID-19?

    The response to the one, three, and five month COVID-19  Voluntary Leaves has exceeded our expectations and we are so appreciative to all the IFCs who have volunteered. As a result, we do not plan on having IFCs accrue PTO while on COVID leave. IFCs will retain the PTO they have accrued. Our decision not to offer PTO accrual is also based on keeping our costs as low as possible during the crisis.
  • How will MINT IFCs be handled for the COVID-19 leave? Will it be based on their MINT status or their current actual base?

    MINT IFCs will bid for the COVID-19 leaves based on their MINT status as a qualification within their base.

  • You said that you would reconsider allowing IFCs to use the trade board to drop to zero hours to assist commuters who have had their commuting options drastically reduced and allow high risk IFCs to get rid of their trips, if they could not hold one of the leaves?

    The Company’s analysis shows that costs could actually increase if IFCs drop to zero. IFCs being paid straight time could drop trips that are picked up by someone that results in premium pay.

  • For those who elect to take COVID-19 leaves, will they be paid in one or two monthly payments?

    COVID-19 leave payments will be made in one payment on the 8th of the month.

As a reminder, JetBlue has agreed that they will not contest any claim for unemployment for IFCs who take voluntary leaves due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFL-CIO offers a complete state-by-state resource guide to investigate unemployment options.

We continue trying to resolve the Scheduling issues that have been submitted through the TWU /JetBlue IFC website. If you have any questions, recommendations, or need assistance with anything related to the COVID-19 crisis, please submit it for assistance.

We have received numerous reports from IFCs that aircraft have not been properly cleaned. If you believe your aircraft does not meet the necessary standard during this health crisis, please report it using proper company procedures, then take a picture (or pictures) and submit the report on the TWU IFC website, so that we can follow up.

As always, if you have any questions about anything not connected to the COVID-19 crisis, you can still submit them to us. While the front page of the website is dedicated to COVID-19 information, the menus at the top of the page still contain all the links to your Committees, NT, contact forms, and Peer Observer information. You may also email us by replying to any of our messages or reaching out to us at b6twu@twu.org.

Finally, it is with a heavy heart that we share that Ralph Gismondi, JFK-based IFC, passed away on April 5, 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19. Ralph was a good friend to many during his 17-year career with JetBlue. In addition to his service as an IFC, Ralph was an FDNY first responder on 9/11. Ralph’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his name.

As we move forward during the COVID-19 crisis, thank you for your efforts in protecting yourselves and providing essential service to our Nation. Together we will make it through this.

Take care of each other and stay safe.