Friday, February 08, 2019

Don’t be fooled.

The airline JetBlue president, Joanna Geraghty, warned employees against joining a union or participating in union activity in an email last month.

"...there will always be union reps, and even fellow crew members, who try to convince you that paying dues and having a union would be a better way to go. However, a union would never be able to give you a list of accomplishments like this.” Among the accomplishments cited include more nail-polish colours to the uniform policy “So if anyone asks you to sign a card, I’m asking you to decline. Don’t be fooled..."

The warning  came in response to organizing drives by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to unionize about 6,400 airport operation agents and roughly 1,000 mechanics at JetBlue.

“We watched the pilots get a union, we watched the inflight get a union, and we’re all Jetblue, we’re one big Jetblue family, but we’re now three different groups with three different rulebooks, and they pit us against each other,” said a JetBlue airport operation agent helping to lead the committee to organize a union. “The company is strongly against organizing. They say if we organize we are going to lose the culture. We are the culture, we make the culture, not the company and their very tight rules,” the worker added.

About 66% of JetBlue flight attendants, or inflight crew members, voted in favor of joining the Transport Workers Union in April 2018, despite a company-led campaign against unionization. Ahead of the vote, JetBlue ran an anti-union website,, pushing for workers to favor a direct relationship with the company over a union. JetBlue also ran anti-union campaigns against efforts for pilots to unionize, which they ultimately succeeded in doing in April 2014. JetBlue and the public relations firm MWW received an award in 2012 from the Public Relations Society of America for its anti-union campaign focused on pilots.

JetBlue employees have reported the company handing out fliers to deter workers from signing union authorization cards.
“They put up a ferocious fight against us. Now I think they are going to pull out all the stops to try to prevent their 6,400 airport operations agents from unionizing,” said the TWU International president, John Samuelsen. “JetBlue puts themselves off as a benevolent, worker-friendly corporation and that’s not necessarily the case. Certainly if they were a worker-friendly corporation they would respect the democratic right of their workers to organize into a union.”

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