Machinists Union from Capitol Hill: JetBlue Must Repay Workers
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The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) on Monday, Nov. 8, sent a letter to Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue Airways Inc., alerting him that the union will reach out to federal lawmakers in an attempt to help workers who wrongfully lost wages and benefits even as the carrier took taxpayer-funded relief as part of the CARES Act.
The Payroll Support Program, under Division A, Title IV, Subtitle B of the CARES Act, provided payroll support to passenger air carriers for the continuing payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits trhough the pandemic. This money was given to airlines based on how much they spent on total labor costs in 2019. JetBlue executives took nearly $2 billion, and agreed to keep pay, staffing levels and benefits at 2019 levels.
However, soon after taking the money, JetBlue cut the hours, removed premium-pay positions, and reduced benefits for non-union Ground Ops Crewmembers. This meant that the amount of PSP funding the airline got was much more than it needed, allowing executives to pocket the difference.
Now, the Machinists Union is asking the same lawmakers who wrote the PSP provisions into the CARES Act to review the actions of JetBlue executives and determine if any violations have taken place.
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