Flight attendants from every other major airline already formed unions. Virgin employs 850 flight attendants, who decided once again to vote on whether to unionize. From now on, the Virgin Airlines flight attendants will be represented by the Transport Workers of America union.
A similar vote taking place in 2011 ended up without a positive result, as 59 percent of the flight attendants voted ‘No’. The elections held this August turned the tables, as 58 percent of the employees decided to join the Transport Workers Union. Out of all the workers, 430 voted yes, while 307 voted against, with 91 workers abstaining from voting. The cabin crew had a wide voting window, starting with July 16 and ending on August 13.
Unions are among the single most powerful methods for workers to gain rights such as fair wages or improved working conditions. Steel workers from South Africa decided to halt production recently asking for wages covering their increasing living expenses.
Among U.S. carriers, Virgin Airlines flight attendants are the last to unionize
According to Flightglobal, 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.”
Transport Workers Union represents other airline flight attendants as well. Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air flight attendants chosen this path already. Moreover, TWO represents ground workers from Southwest and American Airlines, along with the latter company’s mechanics. Flight dispatchers employed by most U.S. airlines are unionized under TWO too.
Virgin Airlines is a young company in the U.S. The two operating bases near Los Angeles and San Francisco had their first flights in 2007. The British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson founded Virgin Group, to which Virgin Airlines belongs. The airline had operating revenues of $399 million in the second quarter, out of which $47.1 million are operating profits.
“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, FlightGlobal reports.
In 2013 Virgin Airlines carried 6.3 million passengers, almost one percent of the total passengers flying on U.S. airlines, FoxBusiness adds. Virgin Airlines flight attendants decide to unionize right after the company decided on July 28 to turn its shares public.