Citing gross managerial incompetence at JetBlue Airways, massive economic harms that would befall frontline workers, and historical precedence, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) is calling on the Departments of Justice and Transportation to take steps necessary to prevent the hostile acquisition of Spirit Airlines by JetBlue Airways.
In a letter sent today to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the country’s largest airline union warns of significant harm to the traveling public and frontline airline workers should the two low-cost carriers combine.
“We have yet to see a credible argument that a consolidated JetBlue/Spirit will enhance competition in the domestic airline industry. Workers and passengers will be harmed, just as they have been in many past airline consolidations, as the new airline follows the business practices, pricing strategies, and labor cost-cutting practices previously combined carriers have undergone. DOJ and DOT should not reward such behavior by approving yet another monopoly,” the letter states.
Specifically, the letter details significant and undue burdens a merger of this kind would place on frontline workers at both JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, including the possibility that hard-fought collective bargaining agreements—which also enhance the customer experience—may be at risk.
The union further warns that more than 1,300 workers at JetBlue headquarters and as many as 8,000 frontline workers based in New York could face future displacement or job loss from the change.
“There is no question that allowing this group to acquire a new airline will severely undermine the pay and benefits of workers across the entire airline industry, create a de facto monopoly, and undermine customer choices and experience,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “The federal government should be looking at this proposed merger with a high degree of skepticism. We are calling on this, the most pro-worker, pro-consumer administration in decades, to use every tool available to halt this disastrous, anti-worker, anti-competition hostile takeover as soon as humanly possible.”
The TWU represents more than 6,800 flight attendants at JetBlue Airways nationwide, and more than 250 gate agents at Spirit Airlines in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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