Thursday, July 20, 2017

JetBlue pilots request federal mediation

jetBlue Airbus A320-232 (c/n 1327) N517JB "Blue Moon" rotates from Rwy 12 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on April 21, 2017 bound for New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK/KJFK).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

JetBlue Airways pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), requested mediation services from the National Mediation Board (NMB) July 18 to assist with contract negotiations.

The request was made after two years of negotiations between the pilots and management of the New York-based carrier have shown little progress. JetBlue’s pilots made their first request of JetBlue management for open contract negotiations in March 2015, in an effort to secure the pilots’ first contract with JetBlue since organizing as a union in 2014.

“We’re hopeful that a mediator will help us speed along the process and come to an agreement that recognizes our contributions to JetBlue’s success,” ALPA’s JetBlue unit chairman Patrick Walsh said.

ALPA said the pace of negotiations “has slowed in the last few months, prompting the pilots to request professional mediation from the NMB.” JetBlue’s pilots are in “pursuit of a contract that includes market-rate compensation, compared to pilots who fly similar routes and aircraft,” ALPA said in a statement, adding JetBlue’s recently proposed pay structure would provide limited increases and keep pilots “near the bottom among major carriers.”

ALPA said JetBlue’s pilots have been briefed on strike preparation activities the union may deploy if negotiations prove unsatisfactory.

JetBlue told ATW: “This week, we were notified by ALPA that it has decided to file for mediation with the NMB in our negotiations for an initial collective bargaining agreement for JetBlue pilots. As we work through this next stage of negotiations, our objective remains the same—to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable to both our pilots and JetBlue.”

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

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