Ground workers at JetBlue renew calls for union

JetBlue’s ground operators are pushing for a workers’ vote to unionize, with the move announced Friday.

The movement of nearly 3,000 workers, including baggage workers, is supported by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a union representing nearly 600,000 active and retired members. The trade group said it will file a union application with the National Mediation Board, a federal agency that oversees labor relations.

“I congratulate all JetBlue Ground Operations employees for standing in solidarity and demanding that a union representative election be held,” said Robert Martinez Jr., international president of IAM, in a statement.

The latest push would create a third union group at the airline after its pilots unionized in 2014, followed by flight attendants four years later. JetBlue ground workers have been fighting for a union for some time.

When ground staff pushed for unionization in 2019, the airline dismissed the calls.

“There will always be union representatives and even other crew members trying to convince you that it would be better to pay dues and have a union. However, a union could never give you a list of accomplishments like that,” JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty wrote in an email at the time.

“Don’t be fooled,” she added, warning employees against unionizing while citing other airlines. In 2019, Delta employees tried unsuccessfully to unionize, and workers are still fighting that struggle. However, the “big three” airlines – United, Southwest and American Airlines – all have unions.

The JetBlue ground workers’ union push comes amid a year of national union efforts, with high-profile movements at Amazon and Starbucks.

“It is high time that JetBlue workers gained the dignity and respect of a union contract and a strong voice in the workplace,” said Richard Johnsen, general vice president of the aviation region at IAM.

Earlier this year, JetBlue completed its $3.5 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines. However, the deal, which would create the fifth-largest US airline, has since encountered hurdles. For airline workers, represented by various unions, the takeover will be far from easy. Ground workers at JetBlue renew calls for union

Fry Electronics Team

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