Exclusive: JetBlue flight attendants seek to hold unionization vote

Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Flight attendants at JetBlue Airways are pushing for a vote on whether to unionize, marking a second organizing effort at the formerly non-union airline after pilots authorized joining a union on Tuesday.

The flight attendants are working with the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) to sign authorization cards that would let them hold an election under national labor rules, the TWU told Reuters.

"We're getting them in very quickly," Thom McDaniel, a TWU International vice president, said of the cards.

JetBlue said it was aware of union drives by flight attendants, but the company believed the effort was still in its early stages.

"We're not aware of a mature effort," spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said. "We know that unions and some people within the companies are very interested in bringing unions in."

The TWU said a drive last year came within about 250 cards of the amount necessary to force a vote. McDaniel said he is confident that the union can obtain enough cards in the next few months to call a vote by the end of the year. The union's claims could not be independently verified.

The campaign was relaunched in January, McDaniel said, after a previous drive, which began in October 2012, ran up against a card-expiration deadline. Under labor rules, authorization cards expire after 12 months.

If the drive succeeds, about 4,000 JetBlue flight attendants would join 2,600 JetBlue pilots who agreed on Tuesday to be represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, ending JetBlue's status as a non-union carrier.   Continued...

JetBlue Airways logo is displayed on a monitor in Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport during a terminal test in New York August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott