Against all odds, your TWU/JetBlue IFC Negotiating Team (NT) accomplished an unprecedented feat this week. We negotiated an initial contract during a pandemic that has created the most challenging economic time in aviation history. However, your NT strongly believes our JetBlue IFCs deserve to have the protection and power that a strong union coupled with a legally-enforceable contract will provide.
Without a contract, we have absolutely no legally-enforceable, contractual rights. We remain at-will employees, and JetBlue Leadership can change our wages, benefits, and work rules at any time. This is unjust, and it’s one of the main reasons we stood shoulder-to-shoulder to select the Transport Workers Union of America as our bargaining agent.
The contract ratification vote will happen soon—before Thanksgiving. In the meantime, there are a few important legal and technical details we must complete. Our collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is filled with well over 150 pages of key components, and since announcing the Tentative Agreement (TA) last week, we have been diligently proofreading the text to finalize the CBA language.
We expect to finalize the legal issues and begin our contract education outreach next week. We know you have many questions, and we will work with you to ensure they are answered. In addition to our educational materials and virtual Town Halls, we will publish the entire text of the contract, so you may review every article, word-for-word, before you vote.
We do ask you to be patient, and please wait to receive all of the detailed (and correct) information about the CBA. Don’t let online speculation or galley gossip misinform you. The facts will speak for themselves.
One fact that we will share now is how critical it is for us to secure a first contract at this time in the aviation industry. This cannot be understated. Today, JetBlue presented its financial picture to its shareholders. To be blunt, things are bleak.
JetBlue is burning an average of $6.1 million in cash every day, and the company is deferring the acceptance of seven new, long-range aircraft. In addition, without an extension of the CARES Act, thousands of flight attendants have been furloughed at American and United, and Southwest has requested ten-percent pay cuts for all employees, to avoid furloughs. During the next few years, losses will continue to mount as JetBlue and the aviation industry as a whole deal with the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, and the only way for us to be protected is with a union contract.
Even in the midst of the challenges and the uncertainty facing our industry, we have secured a multi-year contract that will provide job protections, security, and stability. While the company obtained a few changes that would come out of any round of bargaining, JetBlue IFCs made key gains, stopped overreaching by JetBlue, and negotiated legally enforceable rights including a grievance policy to hold the company accountable. This first contract is a foundation to build upon in the years to come; until the TWU/JetBlue CBA sets the bar for this industry.
We fought hard to get you to this important moment. Your NT is now going to ensure you have everything you need to make an informed vote on your first contract.
Thank you for your support, and we look forward to answering your questions.