Aviation News

April 23, 2014

BREAKING: JetBlue Pilots Vote to Unionize

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Written by: NYCAviation Staff
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By an overwhelming 71% majority, JetBlue Airway’s more than 2500 pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association, the nation’s largest union for pilots. Though two prior unionization attempts were defeated at the ballot box, the third time was the charm. Why this time? Many fingers point to the looming threat of airline consolidation.

“The aviation landscape has changed dramatically, and I believe [consolidation] was the determinant for the JetBlue pilots to organize,” Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Lee Moak said today.

In response, JetBlue released a brief statement saying it would set up negotiating committees after the National Mediation Board authorizes the Association as the representative body for its pilots. Upon news of the vote becoming public, shares of JetBlue fell 1.9% in Tuesday trading to close at $8.59, reflecting investors’ concern about airline costs rising as its first employee group joins a union which will seek better pay and working conditions for its newest pilots.

Airline consolidation has been a part of the industry for much of the past decade, sending some airlines into bankruptcy and creating a rise in aviation fuel prices. As industry watchers have considered whether JetBlue can remain viable and competitive on its own, the airline has maintained its intention to stay independent while innovating in the area of its inflight product offerings.

Other analysts agree with JetBlue founder and former CEO, who believe JetBlue’s higher operating costs signal an eventual end to its days of operating on its own.

JetBlue has been a nonunion airline since it was founded in 1998, and plans to hire 125 new pilots in order to remain in compliance with new federal regulations regarding pilot duty hours.

ALPA represents more than 50,000 pilots from several airlines in the United States and Canada.

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NYCAviation Staff



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  • Robert Griffith

    It amazes me how JetBlue has such a hard time with retired military officers flying for their organization. I truly am flabbergasted at how many of these highly trained military professionals are
    washed out within the first year at JetBlue. Factually speaking, they come with flawless records and unequaled training. But for JetBlue, they can’t seem to feel these people are qualified. What the real case is there is a select group within JetBlue’s training organization that does not like retired military professionals who are receiving a pension and at the same time filling the seat of the cockpit. One of these days, this is going to catch up with them. It’s called karma.

    • Offensive #AvGeek

      What are you basing this on? Have a link or any source to indicate that? News to me.