On April 4, 2022, JetBlue pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have approved an agreement (Letter of Agreement 17) that ends a more than yearlong dispute with the Company stemming from its unilateral implementation of parts of the Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines that violated the pilots’ collective bargaining agreement with JetBlue.
With nearly 90 percent of eligible pilots casting ballots, 60 percent voted to ratify the agreement. This deal provides improvements to the pilots’ current collective bargaining agreement and gives the pilots significant say in the renewal of the NEA.
“Since the NEA was announced in the summer of 2020, JetBlue pilots have enforced their contract and, when necessary, disputed the Company’s ability to enter into this code-share agreement with American Airlines without the consent of the pilots,” said Capt. Chris Kenney, chair of the JetBlue unit of ALPA. “Letter of Agreement 17 not only gives the pilot group a voice in this alliance and its continuation, but also provides improvement to our current pay scale and sick-leave policies.”
The NEA, a marketing alliance and enhanced code-share agreement between American Airlines and JetBlue, is designed to increase competition against the other major players in the New York and Boston markets. It specifically covers Logan, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports. Both airlines retain full control of all aspects of their respective business, including pricing, routing, and capacity.
“We’re pleased that we were able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement with management,” continued Capt. Kenney. “This cooperation bodes well as this pilot group begins negotiations for our second collective bargaining agreement.”In February 2021, the pilots voted down a letter of agreement to allow the Company to continue the full NEA as not providing enough benefits in exchange for the contractual leeway. Thereafter, the pilots filed and arbitrated the grievance now settled by the pilots with their ratification of Letter of Agreement 17, prior to the arbitrator ruling.