UPDATE 1-Virgin America pilots vote for unionization

Thu Jun 4, 2015 6:01pm EDT
 
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June 4 (Reuters) - Virgin America Inc said a majority of its pilots voted to be represented by the world's largest pilot union, ending its run as the last major U.S. carrier without collective representation for pilots.

As much as 75.3 percent of eligible pilots voted for representation by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), said the National Mediation Board, an independent government agency that coordinates labor-management relations in the railroads and airlines industries. (bit.ly/1KdbN5Q)

"The organizing effort was not unexpected, as Virgin America was the last remaining major U.S. airline without a unionized pilot group," Virgin America said in an email statement.

The low-cost airline, partly owned by Richard Branson, said it currently employs 612 pilots.

The move by Virgin America's pilots comes nine months after its flight attendants voted to seek representation by the Transport Workers Union.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents more than 51,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the United States and Canada, including JetBlue Airways Corp, Delta Air Lines Inc and Spirit Airlines Inc. (Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)