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JetBlue Airways Ground Workers Seeking Union Vote, Airline Labor Group Says

09/23/2022 | 03:30pm
(MT Newswires) -- (Updates with comment from JetBlue in the fifth and sixth paragraphs)

JetBlue Airways' (JBLU) roughly 3,000 ground workers are seeking union representation, according to an airline labor group, which vowed to negotiate a contract for them that unlocks their "true value."

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM, said Friday it will file an application with the National Mediation Board, citing "sufficient interest" among JetBlue fleet service workers for a union vote.

"It's high time that JetBlue workers gain the dignity and respect of a union contract, and a strong voice on the job," said IAM Air Transport Territory General Vice President Richard Johnsen. He said he hopes JetBlue would allow workers to vote "without influence, coercion and interference from" the airline's management. "If not, we will leave no stone unturned to hold them accountable," said Johnsen.

The union said JetBlue workers have cited low pay rates and benefits, unsafe working conditions and unjustified terminations, among other issues they are facing. "The IAM will support JetBlue workers in getting to and winning this election and negotiating a union contract that reflects their true value to JetBlue Airways," IAM District 141 President Mike Klemm said.

"We firmly believe that the direct relationship we have with our ground operations crewmembers has worked, and will continue to work, and that third-party representation and the costs to our crewmembers that come with it are not in their best interests," JetBlue said in an email to MT Newswires.

"In addition to providing competitive pay, benefits and opportunities in a safe environment, JetBlue is the only major US airline that has not furloughed or issued (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act notices to our crewmembers in our 22-year history, even during the pandemic, and we remain the industry's only airline with a no-furlough commitment in place," JetBlue said.

The development comes as JetBlue's proposed acquisition of budget airline Spirit Airlines (SAVE) remains pending.

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MT Newswires 2022
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