Virgin America flight attendants vote for TWU representation

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Updated with comments from Virgin America

Flight attendants at Virgin America have voted in favour of representation by the Transport Workers Union, the first employee group at the carrier to approve union representation.

Cabin crew members voted for the union by a 16 percentage point margin with 58% of the 828 votes cast in favour of the union, says the TWU. The vote was held from 16 July to 13 August with the assistance of the US National Mediation Board (NMB).

"We respect the decision by our InFlight teammates to choose third-party representation, and we will continue to work to serve the best interests of all of our teammates and our airline as we move forward," says Burlingame, California-based Virgin America. "We will continue to provide our guests with the best flying experience available. We’ve always been committed to reinventing flying for our guests, focusing on our teammates, and charting our own path – and that is just as true today as it was the day we started flying.”

Harry Lombardo, president of TWU International, says: “We want to see Virgin America prosper. As the airline grows and becomes an increasingly profitable and larger public company, we also want our members to be recognised for their contribution to the airline’s success. We will now focus on gaining a contract that’s fair for our new members.”

Contract negotiations are expected to begin in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter, the union says.

Virgin America joins JetBlue Airways in having its first employee group vote for unionisation this year. Pilots at the New York-based carrier voted to be represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in April.

The California carrier reported a $47.1 million operating profit on operating revenues of $399 million in the second quarter, earlier in August. It filed for an initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in July.