Pilots at JetBlue are choosing once again to go without union representation.
It is the second time in three years that pilots at the New York airline have tried and failed to unionize. The latest attempt was driven by the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, which represents more than 53,000 pilots at 39 U.S. and Canadian airlines.
JetBlue Airways Corp., one of the only U.S. airlines that is entirely nonunion, said Tuesday that 58 percent of just over 2,000 valid votes were cast against bringing in some form of representation. Forty-two percent of votes were cast in favor of a union.
The first grass-roots attempt to unionize took place in 2008. Pilots at that time wanted to form their own union and avoid teaming up with a larger national labor union such as ALPA, which has difficult relations with management at some other airlines. At that time only a third of the pilots voted in favor of the union.
Organizers said then that getting the word out proved difficult, and ballots not cast were counted as "no" votes.
Since then, the National Mediation Board, a federal agency that oversees labor relations, has changed the rule so that votes are based on only the ballots that are cast.
In a statement, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger thanked the pilots for choosing to retain their "direct relationship with the company."
Samantha Bomkamp can be reached at http://twitter.com/SamWillTravel.