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
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
Some 71 percent of the pilots eligible to vote backed the plan to
unionize, ALPA said on Tuesday.
JetBlue stock fell about 4 percent on Tuesday after the
announcement. It closed on Thursday at $8.37, down 2.6 percent.
Under labor rules, employees can authorize a vote if 50 percent of
the group plus one person sign authorization cards.
JetBlue said such a "tipping point" appeared far off.
"We're not aware that we're anywhere close to that kind of
scenario," Dervin said.
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JetBlue reported a $4 million profit for the first quarter on
Thursday. Chief Executive Officer David Barger said the airline sees
no material change in its financial outlook as a result of the
JetBlue pilots recently received a 20 percent raise, and the time to
negotiate a new contract could be 32 months, Barger added.
The TWU's McDaniel said flight attendants are concerned about job
losses in a merger, pay that they say is near the bottom of the
industry and work rules that are not consistent.
Dervin said the crew members are covered by rules providing
severance if the company changes hands, that pay is on a par with
peers and that flexible working rules are developed with input from
a committee that includes flight attendants.
One worker at the airline said many flight attendants are concerned
about these issues, however, and the support for the union was
"Flight attendants are ready for a union," said one flight
attendant, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being
fired. "I have a feeling it's going to go the same way as the
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; editing by Jan Paschal)
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