The JetBlue-Spirit Merger and the Risk to Job Security

Organizing
9 August 2022

The JetBlue and Spirit merger presents a significant risk to the job security of those workers who do not have contractual employment protections. Why?

“Asset divestitures can smooth the way to antitrust approval.We have a path to close this deal,”
-CEO Robin Hayes

The JetBlue-Spirit merger will have to receive approval from the federal government to be finalized. With airfares soaring and countless operational problems, it is expected that the Biden Administration will be VERY apprehensive to approve any airline merger. This is especially true for the JetBlue-Spirit merger, as the Biden Administration has already sued JetBlue and American, alleging the airlines’ Northeast Alliance is a de facto merger that hurts competition in the New York and Boston markets. So what will JetBlue have to do to gain regulatory approval for its merger with Spirit?

Two words: Divest operations to address the issue of competition. So, for example, where JetBlue and Spirit both have significant operations—think FLL, MCO and other locations—to gain approval for the merger JetBlue will have to give up a portion of its flight schedule to other airline/s. That means JetBlue is bound to divest in many locations, which means a reduction of the current combined flights of Spirit and JetBlue. And that affects jobs. 

And, if the merger is ultimately approved, a big if, it will not happen until the first half of 2024. A lot can happen in 15-18 months. There can be an economic slowdown, happening now as the GDP has decreased in the last two quarters, or a significant change in the leadership philosophy of the combined carrier. 

JetBlue management’s objective, as stated in its latest second-quarter earnings report, is to get the merger with Spirit approved and to implement a severe cost containment strategy with its newly announced “Enterprise Planning Team.” 

What does that mean for outsourcing and general job security? Future wage and benefit improvements? Work rule enhancements? 

The only way that JetBlue GO Crewmembers will be able to have a say in their future is by having a seat at the table. Not by being on the menu.

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