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Sat, Feb 04, 2023

JetBlue Pilots Nail 2-Year Contract Extension

Negotiations Nab 21.5% Pay Rate Increase Over 18 Months

JetBlue Airways have approved a 2-year contract extension after months of negotiations.

The group, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association,(ALPA), "overwhelmingly" approved the extension, gaining them a compensation increase of 21.5 percent over 18 months. The deal will include a number of smaller monetary improvements. Ultimately, 95 percent of eligible pilots participated, with 75 percent voting in favor of ratifying the tentative agreement reached in December.

“This contract extension provides unprecedented pay increases for JetBlue pilots across the board and recognizes the contributions of JetBlue pilots to the success of this airline, including the planned merger with Spirit Airlines,” said Capt. Chris Kenney, chair of the JetBlue unit of ALPA. “As JetBlue pursues this merger, this agreement protects the career expectations of JetBlue pilots while the market for pilots rises.”

The vote puts a months-long negotiation process to rest, which started in September 2022. Back then, the company entered into expedited, short-term contract extension negotiations aimed at establishing immediate economic improvements. On December 14th, the two parties reached a tentative agreement that provided the pilots with 3 rate increases and a market rate adjustment that ensures JetBlue pilots will retain pay raise parity with industry peers. The extension is a handy bit of work, given the company's position - JetBlue stands on the cusp of a potentially lengthy merger process. The agreement ratified today puts JetBlue pilots in a strong position for future negotiations, whether they aim for a joint collective bargaining agreement alongside their (would-be) peers at Spirit Airlines or a comprehensive standalone collective bargaining agreement.

“We entered into these negotiations recognizing that mergers take time and our pilots couldn’t wait for the compensation improvements they have earned,” continued Kenney. “As pilots at several other airlines continue to negotiate new contracts, this agreement puts the JetBlue pilots with our peers at the top of the industry.”

FMI: www.alpa.org

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