JetBlue Crewmembers: Union Job Protection Can’t Come Soon Enough

Justice at JetBlue
15 March 2022

Last week, CEO Robin Hayes wrote to JetBlue employees saying surging fuel prices threaten the airline industry’s recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic. He is correct.

CEO Hayes also stated how JetBlue workers could step up and help out during this time, which is reasonable. He claimed that airline executives would scale down JetBlue’s schedule due to higher fuel prices making specific routes unprofitable. Realistic.

Everyone, including the IAM, wants to see JetBlue be successful. But, how can we protect ourselves during these very uncertain times? What if the financial situation in our industry gets so bad that JetBlue has to declare bankruptcy?

Many airline analysts are forecasting airline bankruptcies. Alarmingly, JetBlue’s poor management style has earned it the dubious title of “worst airline” in America for a range of management failures. What if the industry’s financial condition gets so bad that mergers/acquisitions are the only way the airline can survive? History has shown that airline mergers and acquisitions are more likely to happen during industry downturns. They are also more likely to occur to mismanaged airlines that cannot handle basic scheduling logistics. 

Joining a union is the best way to protect ourselves. Why? Airlines MUST NEGOTIATE with employee unions during the bankruptcy process, and workers have a voice in the outcome. During mergers, airlines are legally required to negotiate seniority rights, wages, benefits, and working conditions with unions. In short, if the worst happens, then having union representation benefits us.

While we hope our industry can make it through these uncertain times, we need to prepare for the alternative. Hoping is not enough. Having IAM representation would go a long way to ensuring that our interests are represented no matter what happens.


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