Union seeks representation election for 3,000 JetBlue ground workers

Technicians inspect a JetBlue Embraer 190 aircraft at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. December 7, 2021. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) said on Friday it is filing an application seeking an election to represent about 3,000 JetBlue ground workers.

Th union will file an application with the National Mediation Board. The union argues JetBlue workers are receiving below-standard industry pay rates and benefits.

JetBlue opposes the effort. The New York-based carrier said in a statement that in "addition to providing competitive pay, benefits and opportunities in a safe environment, JetBlue is the only major U.S. airline that has not furloughed" crewmembers in its 22-year history "even during the pandemic, and we remain the industry’s only airline with a no-furlough commitment in place."

The airline added it firmly believes "that the direct relationship we have with our ground operations crewmembers has worked, and will continue to work, and that third-party representation and the costs to our crewmembers that come with it are not in their best interests."

IAM Air Transport Territory General Vice President Richard Johnsen said "it’s high time that JetBlue workers gain the dignity and respect of a union contract, and a strong voice on the job."

The IAM is the largest airline union in North America represents workers at every major U.S. airline. Airlines are one of the most unionized sectors in the U.S. economy.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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