JetBlue’s own flight attendants say they oppose the airline’s hostile takeover of low-cost airline Spirit because JetBlue has “proven itself to be an abusive employer”.
Flight attendants at the Long Island-based carrier are represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) who are currently fighting JetBlue over allegations that crew are at “breaking point” and are “physically and mentally exhausted”.
“After thoughtfully considering the impact that a JetBlue acquisition of Spirit Airlines would have on customers and our workforce, the TWU fully opposes JetBlue’s proposed hostile takeover,” the union’s international president John Samuelson said on Wednesday.
“JetBlue has proven itself to be an abusive employer by disregarding the well-being of its workforce, and refusing to abide by its existing union contracts,” the statement continued.
“In addition, JetBlue would be poised to eliminate thousands of good-paying jobs and low-cost flight options for customers.”
On Tuesday, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) announced it had reached a deal with Frontier over its proposed merger with Spirit, thereby rejecting JetBlue’s hostile takeover.
The AFA represents flight attendants at both Frontier and Spirit, and key to the agreement was a guarantee from Frontier that flight attendants would keep their seniority when the two airlines merge.
Frontier and Spirit will also operate as separate airlines until a joint collective bargaining agreement has been reached and routes won’t be cut if it means flight attendants would end up losing their jobs.
Spirit’s board of directors back the merger with Frontier but the company said on Tuesday that it would review JetBlue’s hostile takeover bid “consistent with its fiduciary duties and applicable law”.
The TWU claims “punishment, fear, and intimidation have become the go-to quick fix” at JetBlue where flight attendants fear losing their jobs if they call out sick on so-called ‘critical coverage days’.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.