Money Matters

Exclusive: JetBlue Flight Attendants Expected To File Today For A Union Election


The Transport Workers Union says it will file signatures this morning with the National Mediation Board as it seeks a union representation election for JetBlue’s 5,000 flight attendants.

“JetBlue flight attendants have come to the realization that the company does not have their best interests in mind,” said John Samuelsen, TWU international president.

“They have come to the right place, because TWU will win this election and will strategically engage JetBlue to win a solid contract,” Samuelsen said.

“The company is more interested in making profits off the backs of its workers than in rewarding them for making it the extremely successful company that it is,” he said.

The union intends to file at 9:30 a.m. this morning. For an election to occur, the union must have the signatures of 50% plus one of the flight attendants. Samuelsen said the union has more signatures than that, but declined to specify a number.

A JetBlue spokesman was not immediately prepared to comment early Wednesday morning.

New York-based JetBlue began flying in 2000. It successfully resisted various unionization efforts until 2014, when 71% of its pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association. That same year, TWU conducted an organizing drive but failed to secure enough signatures to force a union election.

Starting from nothing, JetBlue quickly managed to become the largest carrier at Kennedy International Airport, then began expanding at Boston Logan and Fort Lauderdale International: it is now the largest domestic carrier at both.

The carrier has also maintained high satisfaction ratings among its customers, despite continuing efforts – encouraged by Wall Street — to cut back on the spacious in its coach class seats.

A Boston-based flight attendant, who asked not to be named, said JetBlue maintains a strong culture but as it has grown, the environment for flight attendants has become less family-like.

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