Stephen Montagne 0

Equitable Pay For Inflight At JetBlue Airways

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AN OPEN LETTER FROM INFLIGHT CREW MEMBERS TO UPPER MANAGEMENT AND THE PRESIDENT & CEO OF JETBLUE AIRWAYS We would like to offer some insight as to the mindset of Inflight Crewmembers at Jet Blue (B6) regarding our current compensation review to upper management and our CEO, Dave Barger. To begin with, we would like to state for the record that many of us signing this petition are leaning towards Union representation within our airline. We write this because we would like to discuss the issue candidly in an adult manner so there is a better understanding between upper management and the B6 work force. As with everything, all is not black and white. Those of us that are signing this petition are not necessarily pro Union. We are well aware of the nefarious forces at play in many Union organizations and that there are problems associated with joining a Union as with anything else. The reason we are all proud to work for JetBlue is because unlike other corporations run by individuals that put profit above all else, JetBlue has always seemed to be a company that was different. We see it as the Apple Computer of airlines. Our motto might as well be: Think Different. Our original founder, David Neeleman, envisioned a company that would bring humanity back to airline travel. We believe very enthusiastically in his initial vision. So the fact that we say we are now pro Union is disheartening to many of us and we wish it wasn't the case. Some of us would rather not have a Union. While others of us signing this petition are unapologetically in favor of a Union without any reservation. However, we all can agree that we'd like to feel that our leadership is looking out for us as a employees and that our Top Brass have our best interest at heart. But JetBlue Airways is a publicly traded company with a Board of Directors and Shareholders and as is the case with all publicly traded companies: a detached board made up largely (but not entirely) of individuals that do not actually work for the airline is making all of the important decisions as to the direction of the company. Because of this arrangement between a group of wealthy individuals – that, in most instances, provide no actual manual labor for the company, but rather sit back and look at spreadsheets – and upper management, the workforce – that does the actual heavy lifting for the company – has to take a backseat to the financial well being of an already financially well off group of One-Percenters. If that comes across as some radical assessment from members of the “Occupy Movement” – well not quite! We are simply Workers. We lift bags, stay awake serving customers during red-eye flights sometimes on very little sleep, get caught up in I.R.O.Ps and sometimes put in over 14 hour days. We often deal with irate, irritated customers that are annoyed that their TV isn’t working or their seat does not recline or they can’t understand why they aren’t allowed to move for free to an empty seat in an area designated as “extra legroom” on an airline that prides itself on being “economy class”. All of these hassles most shareholders and members of the board of directors do not have to bear and it appears to those of us signing this petition that the JetBlue board of directors – like most boards of large, publicly traded corporations – concern themselves with how they can squeeze one more dollar out of a workforce in order to turn their 20 million into 21 million. Top brass can talk all day long about how they are looking after the long-term economic stability and sustainability of JetBlue as an airline. But the truth of the matter is: a small group of financially well-to-do individuals are concerned solely about how they can make even more profit on top of the exorbitant profit they’ve already amassed without having any concern or consideration for the labor force that puts up with all of the hassles and hard work it takes to make this airline in particular profitable. Many of us also find it hard to comprehend why Inflight Crew Members have basically been presented with a pay cut when JetBlue just reported the most profitable second quarter in the airline's history? Is it really so difficult to understand why we feel we need a Union right now? It’s because we believe there is a group of wealthy individuals that would sell the company off piece by piece if they could simply to put more money into their off-shore accounts. This is the American way of doing business in the 21St Century and this is why some of us, that actually pay attention to what is going on around us, see a Union, as flawed as it may be, as the only protection we have against a business model that really does put profits above everything else. But JetBlue was supposed to be different. It wasn’t supposed to be business as usual. It wasn’t supposed to be American or Delta or United or now defunct TWA that corporate raider Carl Ichan ran into the ground and sold off piecemeal to American Airlines. However, many of us see JetBlue striving to be just like those legacy carriers and with this new round of compensation assessments and changes to our healthcare, we can see the writing on the wall. This is why there are cries for Union representation even among people that don’t necessarily feel that Unions are a better alternative. What we want is to know that our CEO and upper management have our back. We want to know that they take our financial well-being and our personal health into account as much as the financial health and myopic desires of a board of directors that don’t actually work on the planes or go through all of the cancelation and I.R.O.P headaches caused by bad weather or mechanical issues that we, the actual workforce, have to deal with on a daily basis. This is why we are considering a Union. Does that not make sense? Are we not all professional minded people? Do we not all think about protecting yourself when we enter into a business arrangement? When we accepted a position in the airline industry, were we not all considering how we were going to survive in this volatile economic environment as much as any other professional in any other industry? Do we not all have either families to feed or bills to pay or debts to honor? What we are is the American Working Middle Class – and we’re hurting out here! So now that that’s out of the way, we would now like to offer some ideas of how to make JetBlue Airways the airline that is all about bringing “humanity” back to air travel and it starts with acting humanely towards airline employees. Especially those of us on the front lines: Inflight Crewmembers. IMPROVED COMPENSATION AND SALARY Forget about premium pay between 70-150 hours. Give us all a $5.00 increase across the board on our base pay. Cap us at 120 (in our initial bid), with an option to work above that (no more than 150) then pay us overtime pay between 120-150 (a similar model to fire fighters, police officers and film industry workers). If we get stuck in an I.R.O.P and we have to work over a 12 hour day, pay us premium pay for every hour above that. Also, pay us for showing up an hour before departure for cabin prep and pay us at base rate from boarding all the way until we deplane. Forget pay rigs, just pay us for the hours we show up. It is about time to consider correcting that antiquated law (which is based on an archaic Railway Act from the 1800s) by compensating airline employees for cabin prep. Pay us a premium pay (an extra $2.00 or $3.00 an hour) for ALL major holidays (including Halloween or any milestone day that requires full work force: New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, etc.) but pay us time and a half for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Raise our per diem to $3.00 an hour. Pay us for the entire eight hours of recurrent training and for something like “Passport to Success”. Pay us for the entire time we are in uniform working and for the time we are out in the public eye representing JetBlue. Pay us a decent base hourly wage and allow us to work less but earn enough – not outrageous, but enough; enough to keep us happy and not having to kill ourselves working so many hours just to keep our heads above water and live hand to mouth. You won't have to pay a lot of premium pay if we get a decent base pay and get paid it for the entire time we work (boarding and deplaning, etc.). Also, be a generous, caring corporation and give us a great healthcare plan. Offer a decent healthcare plan to part-time workers and a great healthcare plan to full-time workers. Don't be like the stereotype of the mean-spirited, cliché, stingy Corporate America company. We are in a high-risk industry, so take care of us. If you truly do care about your employees and our safety – since Safety is one of our core values – then act accordingly. Our health and well being is part of Safety. During a time in this great nation’s history when CEOs and Wall Street types are considered to be fat cats that only care about profit above all else, why not make JetBlue a model for the industry as an airline that truly cares about its workforce? Think outside the box. Don’t model yourself after the other airlines or legacy carriers. Be bold. Be different. Be an original. Be a trailblazer. Be the JetBlue we all know and love. Be a model for other corporations in America to follow by being a company that didn’t require Union representation in order to be forced to do the right thing for their employees. Be business savvy of course, but be fair. If you put your employees first (human beings above profits) and keep us happy then we will keep customers happy and make the airline profitable for all and there won’t be a need for a Union. We thank you for your time. Sincerely, The Hard Working Members of B6 Inflight Crew


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