JetBlue ground operations workers seek union vote, large union group says

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A JetBlue passenger jet (Embraer 190) taxis at LaGuardia Airport in New York, New York.

Robert Alexander | Archive Photos | Getty Images

A major airline union said Friday it has enough support among JetBlue Airways’ roughly 3,000 employees to seek a union vote, in the final step to organize workers.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said it will file a union vote request with the National Mediation Board. The working group consists of baggage handlers and other ground operations staff.

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A vote could constitute the third major working group at the New York-based airline to unite. JetBlue’s pilots and flight attendants are already union members. It would come amid a wave of union votes at companies from Amazon to Starbucks.

A vote could also take place while JetBlue is in the process of acquiring budget airline Spirit Airlines, where more than 80% of workers are represented by unions, compared to JetBlue’s 46%, according to annual company records.

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“The IAM has expressed sufficient interest among JetBlue Fleet Service employees to hold a union representative election,” the union said in a statement.

JetBlue did not immediately comment on the IAM statement.

Most of the employees of major airlines are already largely represented by unions, although some airlines like JetBlue are less so than some competitors.

Delta Air Lines is the largest U.S. airline whose employees are largely ununified, although in 2019 the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA launched a union action against the flight attendants of the Atlanta-based airline. Flight attendants had previously rejected the unionization.

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