Unemployment Benefits Update Surrounding COVID-19 Leaves

For the last several months, IFCs who opted for voluntary leaves have continued to notify the Transport Workers Union (TWU) that JetBlue has reported net wages, instead of gross wages, for calculating unemployment benefits. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in the owed, unemployment benefits they have received.

The TWU notified JetBlue management of this issue on multiple occasions, beginning in April 2020. On July 20, JetBlue leadership finally confirmed they were under-reporting wages and informed us they were working with their third-party vendor to correct the problem. We requested additional updates on this issue and were told on July 31 that their business partner was continuing to work on a resolution. JetBlue assured us that any necessary adjustments would automatically be paid to IFCs.

The TWU received no updates since July 31, so we contacted JetBlue management on September 9 to request additional information about the status of the corrections. Management did not respond to that request. During a virtual pocket session held on September 17, an IFC asked the Vice President of Compensation Benefits and CSR, Harry Spencer, about this problem. Mr. Spencer stated that he was not aware of the issue and asked the IFC to send him an email. As soon as this information reached the TWU, we sent him an email explaining the situation, and we received a response the following day.

According to the information we received on Friday, JetBlue has corrected wages with statewide agencies through the second quarter of 2020, and the recalculations of IFC’s unemployment benefits should be corrected soon; however, the timeframes for these potential corrections will vary by state, and all corrections are subject to each state’s specific processing practices.

There are JetBlue IFCs who took COVID-19 leaves and are struggling financially due to JetBlue reporting their wages incorrectly. The worst part of this situation is that it did not have to happen. The TWU informed the Company of this problem back in April, and it was not acknowledged as a systemic problem until July. The TWU has doggedly pursued this matter, and we will continue to do so until it is completely resolved. We understand how our individual IFCs are stonewalled and ignored, and that is why now, more than ever, our IFCs must have the protection of a contract.

Your Negotiating Team (NT) continues to push for a fair contract that includes a grievance process to hold management accountable. You can help that process by joining the Contract Action Team (CAT). Please register today to assist your NT, so we can work together to reach an agreement that will protect JetBlue IFCs during the uncertainty of the pandemic and establish a foundation for any future challenges you may face.