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Wed, Mar 06, 2024

JetBlue Pilots Continue the Contract Fight

With Merger Off the Table, Negotiations are Back On

JetBlue Airways pilots have announced they will continue the fight for a new collective bargaining agreement with the company following news that the Spirit/JetBlue merger is off.

The Air Line Pilots Association will continue to represent them at the negotiating table by way of the negotiating committee, and the team has got its game face on to "to commence bargaining discussions for the pilot group’s next contract within the coming months."

Spirit and JetBlue were originally expecting to see their appeal go through the courts next June, but they broke the Monday news cycle with an abrupt and unexpected cancellation of the merger altogether.

Justin Houck, chair of the JetBlue ALPA Master Executive Council, said that they had paused things while the merger was on the books, but now that it's gone they have to get back to business. “When the merger was initially proposed, we opted for a short-term extension rather than a full comprehensive contract, anticipating a joint collective bargaining agreement post-merger. However, the court decision in January and subsequent termination of the deal has altered the landscape significantly. Our attention must shift to attaining our contractual objectives as a single, unified pilot group.”

The pilot group lags behind all the others after a few years of negotiations around the industry, with United, American, Delta, and finally Southwest pilots all getting pretty solid concessions and work improvements by way of fresh contracts. It's a little sad for JetBlue pilots, since the fever pitch of airline pilots has somewhat cooled, reducing the feeling of leverage held by active ATP-rated aviators.

“While the contract extension last year served as a temporary measure during the merger process, it was never intended to substitute for a comprehensive contract,” continued Houck. “JetBlue pilots are now ready to achieve the full collective bargaining agreement they have earned.”

FMI: www.alpa.org

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