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Breeze Airways Flight Attendants Have Voted to Unionize in Win For Biggest Crew Member Union in the United States

Breeze Airways Flight Attendants Have Voted to Unionize in Win For Biggest Crew Member Union in the United States

a blue airplane flying in the sky

Flight attendants at Breeze Airways have voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing just five months after going public with their unionization campaign, which was backed by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA).

In a ballot which was certified by the National Mediation Board on Tuesday, 76.3% of Breeze flight attendants voted in favor of joining AFA-CWA.

The union is by far the largest flight attendant union in the United States and now represents more than 50,000 crew members at 20 airlines, including the likes of United Airlines, Alaska and Spirit Airlines.

In a statement, AFA said Breeze flight attendants were driven to join a union because of “constantly-changing work rules, substandard pay for time on the job, inadequate hotel accommodations, insufficient work hours, and inconsistent and disrespectful treatment from management.”

The union also accused Breeze Airways of running an an “aggressive anti union campaign”.

“Management broke out all the tired old union busting, but together we weren’t intimidated or fooled,” commented Robynne Martino of the Breeze AFA Organizing Committee.

“Our work group spoke clearly. It’s time for Breeze to treat us with the dignity we earn every day on the line. We call on management to come to the table and negotiate a fair contract without delay.”

Breeze was created by serial aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, who is probably most well-known for his role in launching JetBlue. Based out of Salt Lake City, the airline operates a fleet of Airbus A220 and Embraer E190 and E195 regional jets, linking smaller city pairs that “have been forgotten or neglected” by other big US carriers.

Shortly before the Breeze started flying, the airline made headlines for its controversial flight attendant recruitment model in which it planned to hire 18-year-old university students who would work part-time for Breeze Airways while completing online college studies at Utah Valley University.

The airline intended to pay flight attendants a fixed monthly rate of just $1,200, alongside an annual bursary of $6,000 and free shared company accommodation.

Flight attendants would then be expected to quit after they had finished their university program. Breeze quickly opened up flight attendant recruitment to non-students after a backlash from unions, including AFA.

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