Washington, DC - The pilots of JetBlue Airways, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), today sent official notice to company management requesting to open contract negotiations under the federal Railway Labor Act. The notice marks the first labor negotiations in the history of JetBlue from any segment of its workforce. Currently, JetBlue pilots are the only unionized workforce at the airline.
"Our negotiators have worked hard to prepare for this day and look forward to successful negotiations for a first contract," said Capt. Jim Bigham, chairman of the JetBlue pilots' Master Executive Council. "While we see the bargaining process as an opportunity to make positive changes for our pilots, we hold no illusions that this will be an easy process. However, while attaining our first labor agreement will require intense focus and commitment, we also will continue to work with management to ensure we contribute positively to JetBlue's success.
"I'm optimistic about the group's opportunities for success. We will work hard and efficiently, but we will also be careful and take the time necessary to assure that the final product is done right. All pilots have a right to expect this approach, and it will govern everything we do moving forward."
The Association's request to begin negotiations pursuant to the Railway Labor Act was sent by ALPA President Tim Canoll. Negotiations are scheduled to begin on March 31, 2015, in New York. Future negotiations will alternate between New York and Washington.
"We hope the attitude and atmosphere of cooperation and professionalism will prevail as we work to secure long overdue improvements to our existing working conditions," said Bigham.
In April 2014, an overwhelming majority of JetBlue pilots voted to join ALPA in hopes of gaining a meaningful voice in their future and the certainty of a collective bargaining agreement. Contract negotiations in the airline industry are governed by the Railway Labor Act—the federal statute that sets the rules for collective bargaining, representation, and grievance processing in the airline and railroad industries.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.