Transport Union Aims to Quash JetBlue-Spirit Deal

Transport Union Aims to Quash JetBlue-Spirit Deal

DALLAS – The largest union representing airline employees in the United States has called for the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation to quash the potential acquisition of Spirit (NK) by JetBlue (B6).

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents more than 155,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transit and utilities/service sectors. Of those workers, they represent more than 6,800 B6 flight attendants and 250 ground staff at NK.

The TWU is urging the US Government to stop the potential acquisition, citing JetBlue management as the root of the problem.

The union has brought forth the potential disregard for the already-in-place union agreements as the primary issue.

Photo: Luke Ayers/Airways

“Workers and Passengers Will be Harmed”

The workers union has cited that the current union bargaining agreements are for both the benefit of the worker and the passenger, who they also say will be at risk should the acquisition go forward.

“We have yet to see a credible argument that a consolidated JetBlue/Spirit will enhance competition in the domestic airline industry. Workers and passengers will be harmed, just as they have been in many past airline consolidations, as the new airline follows the business practices, pricing strategies, and labor cost-cutting practices previous combined carriers have undergone. DOJ and DOT should not reward such behavior by approving yet another monopoly,”

Transport Workers Union Letter to the Attorney General and Transportation Secretary

Not only has the TWU emphasized the agreements, but also the jobs of thousands of workers alone. The TWU cited in their letter that up to 9,300 workers from both headquarters and crew positions may be at risk of displacement or even lay-offs/firings.

“There is no question that allowing this group to acquire a new airline will severely undermine the pay and benefits of workers across the entire airline industry, create a de facto monopoly, and undermine customer choices and experience,”

TWU International President, John Samuelson
Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways

JetBlue Responds

JetBlue responded in a statement to flight attendants Thursday night, addressing that they will be working with TWU to address the concerns raised by the letter. The New York-based carrier’s CEO, Robin Hayes, also cited that the company plans to move forward with plans to keep all employee bases of both airlines, as well as the no-furlough commitment.

If the attempt to block the merger fails, the deal will likely close by the beginning of 2024.

Featured Image: Jinyuan Liu/Airways

Joshua is an aviation student majoring in airline and airport management. A student pilot who loves being in the air, Joshua has hands-on experience working with airport authorities and fixed-base operators. He also enjoys traveling to new airports and trying out new airlines. Based in Canada.

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