As you well know, your TWU NT has been waiting for a response to our proposal on Qualified Roles (QR). As you are also undoubtedly aware, the Company has been perfectly willing to disregard our CBA when it suits them, and dragged their feet on a written response for over two months. And now they tell you that our Union has held up the process? Here’s a timeline of the events as they occurred:
June 20: TWU sends an email to the Company requesting information on how they intend to adhere to the QR timelines in the CBA for mid 2022.
June 21: Management responds with a request for a meeting regarding the implementation of Article 29.
June 21: TWU responds and a meeting is scheduled for June 23.
June 23: TWU meets online with JetBlue Management; Company acknowledges that their plan for achieving the contractual obligation was not attainable and asks for changes in the CBA to accomplish it.
TWU requests a formal proposal for consideration.
The Company sends their proposal that night.
July 8: After thorough review by the TWU NT, they send a counter-proposal on QR and other high priorities for all IFCs, including raises for all, and offer to meet to discuss the proposal.
July 20: After almost two weeks with no response, TWU inquires if the Company had any questions or would like to meet to discuss the Union’s counter-proposal.
July 21: The Company replies that they would be “in touch” to discuss the Union’s counter-proposal.
August 5: TWU emails the Company, stating that it had been a month since the proposal had been sent and asking when we could expect a response or if the Company would like to meet to discuss the proposal.
August 11: The Company requests a meeting for the following day to “catch up” on issues.
August 12: TWU meets with Management where it’s explained that the proposal was too costly for the Company (approximately $84 million over the 5 year life of the contract according to them).
The TWU reminds Management that they had already spent many times more than that on their pursuit of Spirit, to settle a grievance with the pilots, and incentive programs for IFCs (some of which they reneged on).
Management says that they’ll consider the Union’s non-economic proposals, however the TWU should consider just accepting the Company’s proposal on QR.
August 15: TWU requests a written response to our counter-proposal so the negotiating process can continue.
The Company responds that they will consider continuing negotiations if TWU will proceed with no pay raises.
The same day, the TWU responds that it has made a fair counter-proposal to resolve many of the Company’s problems and that IFCs deserve no less than ALPA Pilots were offered to resolve the NEA issue.
August 19: TWU emails the Company to inquire about when they can expect a counter-proposal as the contractual QR deadlines are time sensitive. o Company responds that they will be meeting the following week to “hammer out the details” on a counter-proposal.
The TWU requests to know how JetBlue Management, without an agreement, will meet their contractual deadlines for QR.
JetBlue Management does not respond.
August 25: The Company emails the Union to say that they have a counter-proposal that they are having costed out and will contact the Union by COB (Close Of Business) on August 29.
August 29: COB - No communication from JetBlue Management.
September 1: JetBlue Management emails TWU and apologizes for their delay, but announces that they have been holding “roadshows” on QR and are incorporating QR feedback into their presentation.
TWU responds, inquiring when there will be a response to the August 19 request as to how the Company will meet contractual QR deadlines.
September 2: After bids are released, TWU files a class grievance on violation of Article 29 Staffing, Reserve, and Minimum Pairing Requirements because they do not include Article 29 requirements.
September 4: TWU agrees to meet with the Company virtually to discuss the Company’s counter-proposal.
September 6: The Company meets with their counter-proposal, which rejects all TWU proposals and threatens to impose forced drafting into QR roles if the Union did not agree to their terms.
Within minutes of being rebuffed, the Company came out with an email accusing the Union of delaying the process of resolving the Company’s self-imposed issues.
As far back as initial contract negotiations, the NT expressed our concerns to the Company that this QR program was undesirable and dysfunctional. Sensible solutions were offered and the Company refused to take them into consideration – and the same is happening now.
To be clear: The problems QR is experiencing were predictable, but the Company was not willing to address them as issues. Now they want us, the IFCs, to simply roll over and accept a wholly inadequate and insulting proposal that would allow the Company to violate Article 29 of our CBA in perpetuity while undercutting our ability to hold Management accountable to the timelines as agreed to in the CBA. Management is trying to blame us, your NT, our Union, and all IFCs for its own failures. If the Company wants to blame anyone, they should blame the people who came up with and keep doubling down on the misguided structure of the Qualified Role Program …assuming any of those people haven’t already left JetBlue for other jobs.
TWU Local 579 is not here to solve the Company’s self-created problems, but we are here to negotiate common-sense solutions that improve our IFCs’ quality of life. As your Union, we are here to protect our IFCs against the Company’s arrogance and mismanagement. We have told the Company time and time again that it would be beneficial to make the QR program into something that IFCs WANT to join— not something our IFCs are tricked into thinking is good for them and then locked into without a real way out. Our IFCs expect to be appreciated and recognized – not duped and trapped.
The Company would have you believe that our Union is holding QR hostage, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Company is violating our CBA without their adherence to the terms negotiated and agreed upon in Article 29.
The Company said our ideas would cost over 80 Million dollars. In reality, if they accepted all of them that might be true, but to reject all of them is an insult to every IFC!
They could have bargained over increases to our compensation. Instead, they offered a small, temporary “true up” for Transatlantic Qualified IFCs ONLY.
They could have agreed to prohibit assigning Core flying to Mint Reserves. Instead, they chose to tell us that combining OBL and MS into one bucket is the solution to all our staffing woes.
They could have done more to increase flexibility for those in Mint so people would want to sign up. Instead, their proposal removes the timelines and restrictions currently in Article 29 of our CBA. Because they can’t violate what isn’t there.
They could have done so much to help our IFCs—but refuse to do so—and they could have done it long before now.
Management's years-long decision to not make necessary investments, consistent operational failures, lack of accountability, and outright hostility to our work group has led us to where we are today. These continuing issues are directly responsible for our astronomical attrition rate, which we can assure you HAS NOT plateaued (the seniority list was reduced by around 30 in the last 10 days alone). Instead of working with our Union to solve these problems, they want us to agree to slap a band-aid on the program, with no long-term solutions. The Company preaches to each of us that they pride themselves on a great product which stands out from the rest of the industry because of motivated employees. Do you feel motivated by our current environment? No, and that’s the reason we unionized, because of Management’s continuous empty words.
Our IFCs have, since 2001, had an incredible ability to overcome the failures of Management and have protected our operation through thick and thin. Because we are so good at our jobs, we've consistently recovered the woeful experience our Customers endure as a result of our poorly managed operations. From the Valentine's Day Massacre to every IROP since, we cover up Management's reactionary operational responses with our award-winning service and smiles. We are the backbone of JetBlue's customer loyalty and we deserve RESPECT.
We deserve competitive compensation. We deserve a healthy work-life balance. We do not deserve to be met with a watered down solution to Management’s failures and threats of forced transfers. How dare they offer positive space tickets as a "sign of appreciation" for only QR IFCs, when our IFCs don’t have the money or flexibility to travel for leisure? While many IFCs struggle to meet our basic needs, JetBlue is touting a “recruitment video” that does nothing to address the attrition rate, quality of life, and work environment of the IFCs already here! The reality is that Management is out of touch, too focused on their acquisition of Spirit, and just plain insulting to us as IFCs.
The Company cried poverty throughout the negotiation process of our CBA and continues to do so today. We were told 2022 would be a “no cost year” and that there was no money to give IFCs an immediate raise. Meanwhile, we have suffered while we watch them throw billions of dollars at another airline, give the Pilots bonuses and raises equaling millions of dollars for violating their CBA, and developing pay incentives that they have refused to honor. It’s time we tell this Company that the days of them treating IFCs as an afterthought are over. They MUST abide by our CBA, and if they can’t (or won't?) meet the obligations they agreed to, then they’ll have to work WITH our Union to meaningfully negotiate FOR ALL OF US, because WE are the UNION!