Release #: JBU 17.01
June 05, 2017

JetBlue Pilots Receive $2.5 Million Grant for Negotiations

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The pilots of JetBlue Airways, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA) today announced that it has received access to a $2.5 million allocation from ALPA’s Major Contingency Fund (MCF) to support the pilots’ critical phase of endgame contract negotiations. The allocation was announced on May 31 after a special vote by the Association’s Executive Council to release the funds, and comes after more than two years of direct contract negotiations between JetBlue management and the airline’s 3,400 pilots.

“While we continue to narrow our differences on key parts of the contract, the pace at the table has slowed,” said Capt. Patrick Walsh, chairman of the pilot group. “The approval of this grant should put JetBlue management on notice that ALPA and all ALPA members unequivocally support our pilots’ progress toward a collective bargaining agreement that will bring our compensation, work rules, and benefits in line with our fellow pilots across the industry.”

In response to increased profits and a drive to retain employees, other airlines have recently offered substantial raises, boosting the industry standard for pilot compensation.

  • Delta pilots ratified a collective bargaining agreement that included an 18 percent pay increase retroactive to January 1, 2016; pay raises over the next three years; additional contributions to their retirement plan; and maintained a generous profit-sharing plan.

  • Southwest pilots signed a four-year agreement that provided immediate retroactive payments; a 15 percent increase in pay; a major change in their retirement plan that increased company contributions while removing the matching requirement burden; and a continuation of the pilots’ very rewarding profit-sharing plan.

  • United pilots received a 16 percent wage increase and kept their profit-sharing plan in place. Due to the new Delta pilot contract, the United pilots received an additional pay increase of nearly 4.5 percent.

  • Hawaiian pilots agreed to a $1.2 billion contract containing 42 percent more value than the existing pilot working agreement. The new agreement includes substantial pay raises and improved work rules, while leaving in place favorable vacation flexibility, sick-leave accrual, and pilot-friendly health-care premiums. By the end of the contract in 2022, overall pay rates will have increased between 36 and 86 percent.
  • American Airlines pilots received an 8 percent pay increase in April.
The fund will be used for pilot rallies, family awareness events, informational picketing, billboards, and other prominent media activities. The MCF is a $47 million “war chest” that provides ALPA pilot groups with the necessary resources to respond to threats to their jobs and to the piloting profession.

“If negotiations slow to an unacceptable pace, we will communicate that clearly to our membership and will request that the federal government’s National Mediation Board intervene,” said Walsh. “And if we are unable to reach an agreement by the end of this year, we will consider this a labor dispute and will be ready to execute an aggressive plan that will use both traditional and nontraditional union tactics to achieve our goal of securing our market-rate contract.”

In March 2015, JetBlue’s pilots became the first employee group to initiate labor negotiations in the company’s 18-year history. Currently, JetBlue pilots are the only unionized workforce at the airline and are working without a collectively bargained contract.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 57,000 pilots at 33 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or