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JetBlue stock sinks on news of ground worker unionization votes

Shares of JetBlue are plummeting on news that ground operations workers for the airline are seeking to unionize.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

DAVID BRIGGS: JetBlue, symbol JBLU, shares slumping today on another union report. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said it would file an application for a union vote for JetBlue's 3,000 ground operations workers, and that includes baggage handlers, of course. JetBlue's pilots and flight attendants are already unionized.

A vote could come while JetBlue is in the process of trying to acquire budget airline Spirit Airlines. More than 80% of their employees are already unionized compared to JetBlue's 46%, a huge gap. This just the latest unionization effort that's been sweeping big business.

We know about Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, even Gallup reported lately that the approval of labor unions highest in the US since 1965, even though union membership has been relatively flat in decades, actually. JetBlue shares down about 4% on this day, I think about 3 and 1/2% now, down more than half, though, year-to-date, Rachelle.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, I guess it does help that Spirit already has unionization in place, so it wouldn't be so much of a shock to the system if this transition does happen. But, obviously, this is a growing trend that we're seeing. And you raise that interesting point about the flatness of people joining these unions while public opinion, though, is still very pro-union, so an interesting dichotomy there, Seana.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, and it will be interesting to see whether or not this could potentially cut into JetBlue's efforts here to cut costs. We heard that from the company in the most recent quarter just in terms of what they want to see play out over the coming quarters. So if a large portion of their workforce does unionize, obviously it could be a cost headwind here for JetBlue in the near term. But we'll see.