Get the facts, be informed
Explore the facts to be informed about the decision to hand over our voice to a 3rd party. We’ve gathered and presented the following fact based information to help fellow Crewmembers do their due diligence.
Every vote counts
The majority wins in a union vote, but only the majority of those who vote! If only 500 crewmembers vote, it will only take 251 crewmembers to elect union representation. It is imperative that every crewmember casts their vote. You will receive a PIN number via mail to cast your vote via phone or web to the NMB. Check out the Election Update page for the latest information.
This is the statement from TWU Local 577’s FAQ’s as to why retroactive pay was not included in their contract following 7 years of negotiation: “‘Retroactive Pay’ is a negotiated item and is intended to cover the time between the time a Contract becomes amendable or expires and the time a new Agreement is reached. Since this is a first contract, there was no previous contract to go back to. Retroactive pay does not apply to a first contract.” Read more here
In 2017, the average participation in the SpeakUp survey of Inflight Crewmembers at each base were as follows: 33%-BOS, 26%-FLL, 32%-JFK, 51%-LGB, 36%-MCO. As Crewmembers, we have underutilized the platforms provided to maximize our seat at the table. Based on the survey results from JFK alone, 68% of Crewmembers did NOT complete a survey. Roughly 7 out of 10 JFK Crewmembers voices were not heard, but we (as Crewmembers) have to be honest about who’s fault that is – OURS. Before we hand over our voice to TWU, let’s SpeakUp and not leave our seat at the table empty. Learn how we can move upward & maximize our seat at the table.
TWU only represents two flight attendant workgroups
How did the TWU get your phone number or address?
Appealing a decision by Crew Services
Profit sharing could be part of negotiation
Could the Onboard Lead Productivity Adjustment be up for negotiation?
Could job share or Crew Flex be affected by a union?
Protection in a merger or downsizing?
In addition to the McCaskill Bond, a federal law that protects us with seniority integration in the event of a merger or acquisition, JetBlue has done more to proactively protect it’s crewmembers in the event of poor performance or M&A than other competitor airlines, with or without unions. First, JetBlue has always had a no furlough policy in place to protect us from downsizing. Second, in April 2016, JetBlue made a Seniority Integration Commitment which was created following feedback given during business meetings and collaboration with the IVC. In the event of a merger, a peer-elected committee would be formed, and if legal counsel is desired by the committee, JetBlue will assist in the hiring process and pay all legal fees and costs associated with the integration process. This is a result of our direct relationship.
Unions cannot fix technology
A union could not negotiate for JetBlue to change its technology systems. We know there have been several technology issues causing headaches in recent months, ranging from FLiCA to password log-ins. JetBlue suffers from them right along with us. While they’d love to go to the store and pick up another system off the shelf, our Business Partner, Sabre, is the dominant provider of this type of technology for the entire airline industry.
Additionally, building our own system is extremely expensive and such a project would leave less money to invest in Crewmembers, Customers, and growth. Delta did this, but it still has the same issue we do with managing volume. While a new crew management system may be unrealistic in the near future, our subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures, shows us that technology is an issue that is top-of-mind for our leadership.
IFCAT, IVC & Work Rules Committees would end
If a union is elected, Crewmembers involved in these groups would not be permitted to collaborate with leadership to identify & implement improvements to pay and work rules. Only the union’s negotiators and officers could legally discuss these issues with JetBlue leadership.
Any improvements JetBlue could make to pay, work rules or benefits are prohibited until EITHER we vote NO on certifying the TWU or, if we vote YES, until an initial contract is negotiated, which could take years.
It’ll cost us!
The TWU website and responses from their representatives vary on what our dues would be. Some say definitively that we will pay ~$35 per month, then a letter posted by Steve Roberts, Organizing Director of TWU, says it will be a “weighted average of your hourly pay scale,” with no mention of $35. If the latter is the case, as our pay scale rises as well as the size and seniority of our workgroup, dues will be more than the current calculation of $35/mo. This is important to note as $35 may sound relatively nominal now as a selling point, but the truth is, it will most likely be more by the time an initial contract is ratified. You will be paying ~$420+ per year for representation that we currently enjoy for free (via IVC, IFCAT, Work Rules Committes, SPA’s, etc.).
Who got us a 22.5%
WE DID! As it is now, we have pay reviews and pay increases happening every two years via IFCAT. In less than 5 years, from 2015-2018, we will have received pay increases totaling 22.5%. Our next IFCAT will occur in 2018, pending we do not elect TWU. Keep in mind, that TWU, as an example, got Allegiant pay increases of 11-23% but only after 7 years of stagnation. Since it was their first contract, “retroactive pay” did not apply, and they also now pay dues with their pay increase!
TWU cannot guarantee anything better
In a collective bargaining agreement, negotiations do not start with what you have today as a floor. A union cannot guarantee any of the existing benefits nor can they guarantee improvements on work rules, policies and pay. In this give and take situation, improvements in one area are often achieved by sacrificing or downgrading other benefits.
Team Leaders would be limited
In a union environment, the union wants to be the sole voice for the employees in dealing with management on issues such as pay, benefits, scheduling, and other work rules. As a result, your relationship with your Team Leader would change as their ability to help you with these types of issues would be limited.
Grievances could take months or years
A grievance is a formal written complaint that a union files on behalf of an employee when the employee believes the company has made an error or committed a wrong doing. A grievance can relate to how the company is interpreting a work rule, or to disciplinary action. Grievance processes vary, but in general, an employee writes down the account of an event, the union files a grievance, and it goes through multiple levels of review to determine an outcome, ending in arbitration (which is sort of a less formal version of a trial in court). It can take months, even years, before a case gets through this process and gets resolved. How does that compare to how we can work together today to address issues promptly?
It’s almost impossible to turn back
It is extremely difficult to “decertify” a union once it is elected under the Railway Labor Act, and it has never happened with a group of employees the size of our Inflight Crewmember group. There is no formal “decertification” process, where airline employees can simply petition to hold an election on whether they still want to be represented by a union or not. Instead, there is a complicated system that requires another organization or individual to collect authorization cards from a majority of the Crewmembers, submit them to the NMB to get an election to run against the union, and then hope that the choice of “no union” wins the election. Even then, the NMB will not even allow this process to start for two years after the union is certified, meaning that our Inflight Crewmembers would be stuck with the TWU for at least two years – and likely much, much longer. Allegiant flight attendants tried to decertify the TWU a few years ago and were unsuccessful, even though they have many fewer flight attendants than we do.