While we have made it a point not to respond to every inaccurate statement that JetBlue management publishes, we take exception to last week's release about mergers & acquisitions and the workplace protections JetBlue management are claiming.
The McCaskill-Bond Amendment does demand “fair and equitable” treatment in seniority list integration. Two questions that arise are:
- What is considered “fair and equitable?”
- Who determines what is “fair and equitable?”
If an agreement cannot be reached between the two parties involved, a “fair and equitable” decision will be rendered by an outside arbitrator. That is the actual definition of a “third party.” That said, the climate is certainly better than before the bill was passed, but primarily among groups that have existing Union representation. We even have examples within the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) family of a Union presenting a fair and equitable seniority list to Management that was negotiated and approved by both flight attendant workgroups.
In early 2012 the flight attendants of Southwest Airlines (TWU) and AirTran Airways (AFA) had the opportunity to ratify an integration agreement that brought significant protections to both of their workgroups. Both Unions assembled negotiating teams and polled their respective memberships to determine the items that were important to them. This agreement went beyond the protections of McCaskill-Bond Amendment, and it ensured that all affected employees had a voice in the integration that they would not have had without the protections of their respective Unions.
It’s important to understand that JetBlue management can change your BlueBook at any time, and any “protections” that are not CLEARLY spelled out, are not protections at all. For example, your BlueBook states that JetBlue will hire a lawyer to negotiate for you.
- Who selects the lawyer?
- What type of lawyer are they hiring?
- Is the lawyer experienced with labor law?
- Does the lawyer have a history of advocating for the employee or the employer?
- Does the lawyer understand your job and the items that are important to you?
With a contract, you have an opportunity to establish rules that must be followed in case of a merger or acquisition. And those protections will work both ways, regardless if JetBlue is the acquiring company or if they are acquired.
If you have any questions about how mergers and acquisitions in the airline industry work, and how they could impact the Inflight Crewmembers of JetBlue, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your TWU Organizing Team