Taking a swipe…

February 15, 2007

images-22.jpegYesterday wasn’t a good day for JetBlue (JBLU). Numerous reports of passengers stranded on the tarmac for over eight hours during a snowstorm at JFK are creating all sorts of negative publicity. Despite this, the stock, which is heavily shorted, is up this morning on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs.

That’s the headlines. But there was something buried in the 10-K filed yesterday about its relationship with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union that caught my attention. This past summer, as the company disclosed in the Q filed July 25, the labor union sought to organize JetBlue’s ground operations employees. But the measure failed for lack of interest. None of JetBlue’s 8,300 full-time employees are unionized. Ditto for its 2,200 part-time employees. In the Q, JetBlue just reported on the facts. But in the K, it added this editorial comment: “We believe that a direct relationship with JetBlue leadership, and not third-party representation, is in the best interests of our employees.”

That wasn’t the only swipe that the airline took at organized labor. There was also a brief item about how the company’s productivity benefits from “fewer unproductive labor work rules”, though that same comment has popped up in earlier filings.

But one of the favorite parts of the K, especially given yesterday’s events was this: “We strive to communicate openly and honestly with customers about delays, especially when weather or mechanical problems disrupt service.” We’re betting those customers who spent eight hours trying to get to Cancun yesterday probably don’t agree.

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