Breeze flight attendants file plans to unionize

Breeze Airways Flight Attendants Seek Unionization Vote

Breeze Airways flight attendants have taken a step towards forming a union by filing paperwork with the National Mediation Board to hold a unionization vote. This move comes two weeks after a group of workers first announced plans to campaign for unionization with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA).

The flight attendants at Breeze Airways are the latest group within the airline to seek a collective bargaining unit, following the pilots who voted to unionize as part of the Air Line Pilots Association in the summer of 2022. Currently, the airline and pilots are in the process of negotiating their first labor contract.

In a statement, AFA President Sara Nelson expressed support for the flight attendants, stating, “Breeze Flight Attendants are proud of their work as aviation’s first responders and they are ready to lock in a real voice at their growing airline. Flight Attendants are not wasting any time organizing for legal rights on the job and a secure future at Breeze with a union contract.”

The flight attendants cited several frustrations that have driven them to seek union representation. These include frequent changes to work rules, pay rates below industry standards, inconsistent hotel accommodations during overnight layovers, and disrespectful treatment from management.

Under the unionization process for airlines and railroads, the campaigning flight attendants must file paperwork to hold an election with the National Mediation Board. This board oversees labor-management relations under the federal Railway Labor Act. However, neither the flight attendants nor the AFA have disclosed the number of flight attendants who support forming a union. According to labor regulations, the majority of a potential bargaining unit must express support for unionizing before the National Mediation Board will grant an election.

Breeze Airways, founded by serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, began flying in 2021 as a low-cost carrier. Neeleman, who previously founded JetBlue among other carriers across the Americas, aimed to bring a unique approach to the airline industry. Initially, Breeze planned to recruit college students as flight attendants and offer tuition reimbursement. However, the AFA objected to this practice, claiming that it violated federal labor laws and minimized the profession of flight attendants. Despite the airline’s argument that it would help the startup compete against established carriers, Breeze ultimately dropped the program.

Breeze Airways operates using a point-to-point business model, focusing on nonstop flights between city pairs that do not have competing service. The airline initially operated short flights of less than two hours using Embraer jets leased from Azul Airlines, another carrier founded by Neeleman. However, Breeze has since expanded its fleet to include the Airbus A220, which has the range to connect any two cities in the continental U.S. This expansion allows Breeze to operate longer-range routes between smaller airports.

In conclusion, Breeze Airways flight attendants have taken a significant step towards unionization by filing paperwork to hold a unionization vote. The flight attendants, like the pilots before them, are seeking a collective bargaining unit to address their frustrations and secure better working conditions. As Breeze Airways continues to grow and expand its operations, the outcome of this unionization vote will shape the airline’s labor relations and the future of its flight attendants.

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