JetBlue‘s in-flight crewmembers voted this week to reject their first contract with the carrier. The results were announced in a memo from TWU International Administrative VP and Air Division Director Mike Mayes to the Union members.
The vote margin was not disclosed nor were specifics on what details in the Tentative Agreement (TA) led to dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file. It is likely that a two year moratorium on pay raises to start the contract left some members concerned, though prospects for raises in the industry today are limited.
“We are disappointed in the results of the vote,” said Ian Deason, head of customer experience, JetBlue. “Both the TWU and JetBlue worked through unprecedented circumstances to reach an agreement that was fair to our inflight crewmembers. We will work with TWU to determine next steps.”
Back to the negotiating table
Prospects for an improved TA are bleak right now. As explained by Sonya Payne, a negotiating team member from Boston in encouraging an approval vote:
[U]nder the Railway Labor Act, the Union and the Company would return to the table to negotiate. However, we have no guarantee that we would get more, and we expect just the opposite. The reality is that we would be going back to the table under much worse conditions than we have seen in the last two years, and experts say the airline business will not improve any time soon.
But the staff have spoken and the TA rejected. A timeline for a return to negotiations has not yet been determined. And the Union still needs to figure out what its members didn’t like so it can try to improve on those facets of the contract.
The full text of Mayes’s message to the crewmembers is below:
Unfortunately we must inform you that the Tentative Agreement between Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and JetBlue Airways did not ratify. Although, this was not the result your Negotiating Team was looking for the In-Flight Crewmembers have spoken and we will return to negotiating with JetBlue management.
Over the next few weeks, we will solicit the reasons why our IFC’s chose to reject the Tentative Agreement and prepare to return to negotiating. At this time, we do not have any dates secured for the future, we will need to be establish them with the Company and expect they will also need time to reevaluate their positions. To be clear, this restarts the process of negotiations and all of the previously agreed upon Articles will be subject to renegotiation
While it is disappointing that we were unable to move this tentative agreement to a ratified contract, we respect the democratic process our JetBlue IFCs engaged in.
Thank you to all who voted. Please fly safe and stay TWU strong as we continue to work on improving the JetBlue IFCs lives.
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