Machinists Union Air Transport Chief Demands JetBlue Restore Workers’ Hours and Pay

Machinists Union Air Transport Chief Demands JetBlue Restore Workers’ Hours and Pay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
James Carlson (202) 500-3916 jcarlson@iamaw.org

Machinists Union Air Transport Chief Demands JetBlue Restore Workers’ Hours and Pay

WASHINGTON D.C., August 22, 2022—International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Air Transport General Vice President Richard Johnsen today demanded that JetBlue Airways management immediately reverse its decision to cut JetBlue Ground Operations workers’ hours and pay.

Earlier this month, JetBlue management announced cuts to Ground Operations workers’ hours in certain locations on the airline’s system. In many cases, these cuts will result in a 20 percent reduction in pay. “The lack of respect JetBlue management has for its Ground Operations workers is utterly unacceptable. They just spent $3.8 billion to merge with Spirit Airlines and now they cut the hours and pay of the very workers who they claim will benefit from JetBlue’s merger with Spirit,” said IAM Air Transport General Vice President Richard Johnsen. “The IAM will not stand by as JetBlue management takes advantage of the hard-working women and men who have made JetBlue a success. They deserve better.”

JetBlue Ground Operations workers are currently pushing to file for a union election with the Machinists Union, the largest airline union in North America. The goal is to win union representation with the IAM and negotiate a contract that will advance and protect their interests during the merger process with Spirit Airlines. “I want every JetBlue Ground Operations worker to know that the IAM stands with you in your effort to unionize with the IAM and gain a voice in the future of your airline,” continued Johnsen. “JetBlue management needs to stop speaking out of both sides of its mouth. Publicly, CEO Hayes paints the rosiest of pictures when he lauds the benefits of its $3.8 billion merger with Spirit.

But, behind the scenes Ground Ops employees are working in very tough conditions, and now many of them have to contend with hour and pay cuts of up to 20 percent.

Make no mistake, our friends in Congress will be fully informed regarding what’s going on at JetBlue.” Recently, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines announced a $3.8 billion merger agreement. The merger is expected to receive intense scrutiny by the federal government, as airlines have struggled with operational reliability and rising air fares.

The IAM is the largest airline union in North America. 

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.

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JetBlue Ground Operations Crewmembers, please sign a card authorizing a union election at JetBlue.

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Machinists Union Joins Delegation to Pope Francis on Behalf of Working People

Machinists Union Joins Delegation to Pope Francis on Behalf of Working People

Machinists Union Joins Delegation to Pope Francis on Behalf of Working People

GOIAM.org
17 August 2022

IAM Air Transport General Vice President Richard Johnsen recently joined other transportation unions at a meeting in Vatican City hosted by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the Vatican’s Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS). The meeting brought transport unions and other trade unions from across the world to discuss joining forces in the fight for global justice.

From Left to Right: Richard Johnsen, General Vice President, Air Transport, IAMAW, Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), & Sean O’Brien, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)

Pope Francis this month invited labor unions and other organizations representing working people to the Vatican for a Global Workers’ Summit. Machinists Union General Vice President Richard Johnsen spoke on behalf of transportation workers in North America alongside Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) President, and Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien.

The Summit covered a range of critical issues facing working people worldwide, including human rights in the workplace and the importance of unions and collective action in the struggle to protect the dignity of work. The event was effectuated by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and was held at the Vatican. It was attended by labor unions from around the world.

Johnsen, who spoke on behalf of transportation, aerospace, automotive, aviation, and rail workers, addressed how technology continues to change the world. He stressed the importance of unions having a seat at the table as new tech, automation, and artificial intelligence impact job security and the workplace environment.

“I have spent the last year traveling the country to listen to our air transport members and address their concerns as our industry continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnsen said in his remarks to the Pope. “Pope Francis’s words have inspired millions of workers, especially in the airline industry, who have faced recent challenges with understaffing and unruly passengers. I look forward to jointly working with our global partners to ensure we can address ongoing global crises using social justice.”

Since 2019, working people have faced repeated challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global inflation, a war in Europe, and alarming food shortages. The Summit helped foster greater solidarity among unions, and an opportunity to confront the issues facing workers through greater collaboration and discourse.

Pope Francis delivered a message that all workers should have the free right to join a union as a basic human right.

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IAM Local 1781 and 1782 (District 141) members went on a private tour of the Sylmar, Ca. training facility for Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines.

IAM Local 1781 and 1782 (District 141) members went on a private tour of the Sylmar, Ca. training facility for Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines (GDA/TLC). Members went to the facility to learn more about GDA/TLC, and exactly what it is the IAM’s charity of choice does.
 
“We learned how the dogs are raised start to finish, got a better insight and perspective of what they do, how they involve the community, and assist our members in need,” said Local 1781 President Tony Parker. “We are learning as much as possible so that we can go back and let our members know how important it is to support local charities and upcoming fundraisers for GDA/TLC.”
 
“To show what this facility means to our members, being here to see what they do, so that we can go back and hold fundraisers,” said Local 1782 President Wendy Goodell. “Because we want to raise money to help this wonderful program that in turn helps lots of people.”
 
Members got to experience all the program has to offer, from the breeding program, training program, to placing service dogs to those in need, as well as blindfold walks without vision, with a dog.
 
“It’s great both of these locals making the trip to see and learn firsthand all the resources that goes into raising a future guide dog,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “My thanks to all involved for learning more about this important facility and the invaluable work that they do.”
 
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Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines provides service dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans, children with autism, and facilities to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence, and mobility. Their services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.

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IAM and Other Transportation Unions Raise Concerns About Assault on Airline Workers

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The IAM joined other transportation unions in raising urgent concerns regarding assaults against passenger service agents working across airports in the United States. The letter was addressed to President Biden, U.S. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

 
The letter urges governmental action to address the increase in assaults against passenger service agents, including the prosecution of abusive passengers.
 
“Airline gate agents are a vital part of a multilayered airline security and safety process at the airport,” reads the letter. “Our members are responsible for checking passengers into their flights, checking luggage to comply with airline weight and balance limits, and boarding passengers onto the aircraft in an orderly and structured way.”
 
Over the past few months, passenger service members across the country have experienced serious physical and verbal assault and harassment incidents, with few repercussions for the offending passenger imposed by law enforcement.
 
The FAA has reported a total of 5,981 passenger incidents in 2021, which is up sharply from previous years.
 
“The IAM supports the push for more substantial penalties against unruly passengers who assault passenger service agents and other airline workers,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President.
 
“Our union continues to ring the alarm and highlight the need of enforcing the laws for assault against all airline workers. The best way to curb these unfortunate incidents is for the interagency working group to listen to the impacted workers in the airline industry. We must all work together to end the assaults that afflict our members.” 
 
The labor coalition expressed the need for all frontline gate agents to expect a safe workplace, free from the threat of violence, and increased cooperation is required to improve the safety of these employees.
 
 

The Machinists Non-Partisan Political League seeks to advance public policy that benefits airline and aerospace workers. To support the work of the MNPL, please consider recurring, automatic donations of any amount today. Click Here to start supporting this important work.

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We Pledge to Protect Our Democracy

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We Pledge to Protect Our Democracy

Sisters and Brothers,

One year ago, we watched as violence overtook the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop our nation’s sacred tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Everyday citizens, first responders, and elected officials were put in harm’s way. It was an image many of us never thought we would see in the United States of America.

As a U.S. Navy veteran, like so many others who served our country, it was especially disturbing to see our democracy under attack. What happened that day was an affront to everything we stand for as a nation and as a union. While we encourage passionate debate and the right to disagree with one another, violence and hate are never the answer.

We must never forget this day. We must always protect our freedom and our democracy. Let’s move forward to protect the rights of all citizens and our sacred duty to make our voices heard at the ballot box instead of through violence.

In solidarity,

 

Robert Martinez Jr.
International President

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Air Rage

Air Rage

In January the FAA issued an order directing staff to pursue a “zero-tolerance” policy for cases relating to interference with crewmembers and other unruly conduct on board aircraft. The move follows a year that has shattered records for the numbers of attacks against airline workers. 

Air Rage

The IAM is calling for stronger legislation with stiffer penalties against unruly passengers who assault customer service agents and other airline workers. Until these incidents end, our union will keep pushing for enforcement of laws, because air rage seems to be a never-ending issue that current penalties haven’t been able to stop.

The Machinists Non Partisan Political League seeks to advance public policy that benefits airline and aerospace workers. To support the work of the MNPL, please consider recurring, automatic donations of any amount today. Click Here to start supporting this important work.

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