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Southwest Friends Speak

Direct quotes from Southwest Flight Attendants themselves. It can't get clearer than this!



Why We're Voting NO to TWU

So many reasons to keep this specific union out.... Check out a few of them here.









Can I be required to be a union member or pay dues to a union? 

[En español] 

Question: Can I be required to be a union member or pay dues to a union?

Answer: You cannot be required to be a union member, but you may be required to pay union fees.

--Employment relations for employees in the railway and airline industries are covered by theRailway Labor Act (RLA). Railway and airline employees are not protected by state Right to Work laws.

--Under the RLA, you cannot be required to be a member of a union or pay it any monies as a condition of employment unless the collective bargaining agreement between your employer and your union contains a provision requiring all employees to either join the union or pay union fees.

--Even if there is such a provision in the agreement, the most that can be required of you is to pay the union fees (generally called an "agency fee").

If you are not a member, you are still fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between your employer and the union, and the union is obligated to represent you. Any benefits that are provided to you by your employer pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (e.g., wages, seniority, vacations, pensions, health insurance) are not affected by your nonmembership. (If the union offers some "members-only" benefits, you might be excluded from receiving those.)

If you are not a member, you may not be able to participate in union elections or meetings, vote in collective bargaining ratification elections, or participate in other "internal" union activities. However, you cannot be disciplined by the union for anything you do while not a member.

The Supreme Court, in Ellis v. BRAC, 466 U.S. 435 (1984), a lawsuit that was supported by the Foundation, ruled that objecting nonmembers cannot be required to pay union dues. The most that nonnmembers can be required to pay is an agency fee that equals their share of what the union can prove is its costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment with their employer.

Except in extraordinary cases, the union's costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment do not equal the dues amount.

Ellis makes clear that nonmembers required to pay union fees as a condition of employment have a right under the RLA to object and obtain a reduction of their compulsory payments so that they do not include union expenses for purposes other than collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment.

The union must establish certain procedures to safeguard your right to pay only a limited fee to the union. These safeguards include giving you:

  • audited financial information about how the amount of the agency fee was calculated;
  • an opportunity to challenge the amount of the agency fee before an impartial decisionmaker; and,
  • the right to place the contested amount of the agency fee in escrow so that the union will not be able to illegally use your money while a decision on the proper amount of the agency fee is pending.

Your right to proper safeguards is based upon Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986), another lawsuit that was supported by the Foundation. The lower courts agree thatHudson, which involved public employees, applies under the RLA


The Rights of Railway or Airline Employees

Private railway and airline employees are covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188. They are not protected by state “Right to Work” laws. See Railway Employees’ Dep’t v. Hanson, 351 U.S. 225 (1956). However, they cannot be forced to join a union unless the collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that requires union membership or dues as a requirement of employment. Regardless, railway and airline unions cannot compel nonmember employees to contribute dues toward a political cause. See Ellis v. BRAC, 466 U.S. 435 (1984). Nonmembers may object to their dues being used for anything other than those expenses directly related to bargaining and administrative costs. Int’l Ass’n of Machinists v. Street, 367 U.S. 740, 774-75 (1961).

Resigning Union Membership and Objecting to Dues for Political Activities

All union members, regardless of whether they work for a private employer or the government, have the right to resign their union membership. Abood, 431 U.S. 209 (public); Pattern Makers, 473 U.S. 95 (private). To resign from membership, the employee should send the union a written letter stating his/her intent to resign effective immediately and should object to any compulsory dues being used for political activities.  It is important to note that automatic payroll deductions for union dues may not cease immediately upon objection. In some instances, the resignation may not be effective until the end of a certain time period authorized in the union agreement. Employees should check with their employer for when they may resign from automatic payroll deductions.

Nonmember employees retain employee benefits negotiated as part of their collective bargaining agreement (e.g., wages, vacations, pensions, health insurance), and unions are still required to fairly represent nonmembers in all collective bargaining matters. SeeVaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 177 (1967); Ford Motor Co. v. Huffman, 345 U.S. 330, 337 (1953). However, by resigning membership or never joining the union, nonmember employees may not be able to participate in union elections, meetings, votes, or other union activities. Additionally, nonmembers are not subject to union rules and discipline.



Costs of having an International Union

As the numerous Southwest flight attendants on Facebook have shared, dues go for many things - even some which are simply not needed. TWU supporters indicate dues would be "low". We can't be so sure about that. Here are some more facts about where your money would go, to supplement the post Aladrian just posted. 


Are there costs involved in being a member of a union?
Yes. There is a fee associated with being a member of a union. Union dues are what you pay to help support the union's costs, which include union support staff, field staff, legal costs, negotiation costs, arbitrator's fees, and other similar costs. Many unions also use dues to create strike funds, and to support union organizing and political activity. The amount can vary greatly because there is no law that specifically designates the amount, although it must be "reasonable". A typical membership amount is $50 per month per member, but your union may charge more or less than that amount for membership. There also may be an "initiation fee". 

In-House means you don't pay for the salaries of the International union employees - all of your dues stay in-house!


Integrity, Professionalism, Transparency, Selflessness

Valuable and important traits we ALL must have if we are leaders; and values we should expect from leadership.

Does the following behavior demonstrate these traits...?

A video produced and posted by TWU and VX TWU supporters showed footage of a teammate who is opposed to TWU while working.

Questionable behavior:

Videotaped WITHOUT asking for consent of teammate.


Response of potential TWU VX supporters: 

"Didn’t Know"



Response - Knew of footage but claimed didn’t know

Problem - Lied about including teammate, supporting an organization not demonstrating Transparency



-Example demonstrates lack of integrity - not informing teammate

-Example demonstrates lack of professionalism - knowing and not informing

-Example demonstrates lack of Transparency - if didn't know - then ignorant  of actions of TWU

-Example demonstrates lack of Selflessness - Apparently more concerned about winning the vote rather than asking permission of teammate



Directly from a Southwest Flight Attendant

What do veteran Southwest flight attendants                                     have to say about TWU...??

Check out the Southwest/Virgin America Sharing and Informing group on Facebook

REAL Southwest Flight Attendants
REAL experiences with TWU
The facts speak for themselves

Join and get informed


TWU Dues

Each TWU Local has a different Dues structure - each set of local members pay different amounts in monthly dues. Some are 2X HOURLY RATE, while others vary. 
For example, Southwest pays $42 per month according to this stat. Check for yourself

No one can say for sure what our dues will be. TWU International can impose a "2x hourly" in any contract, so any amount quoted thus far is pure conjecture.

Why 'They' Chose TWU


TWU international in charge - not Inflight (review TWU constitution, see WN & VX Sharing and Informing group on Facebook)


Better than AFA and other unions

No substantiated research, no one knows which options were explored or whether they were


Tried In-House - Too Expensive

No substantiated research - Word of mouth/heresay


Aspects of the Southwest Contract is the Ideal

Many current Southwest Flight attendants currently unhappy and opting out.
(See Link above to WN & VX Sharing and Informing group on Facebook - read for yourself)


TWU is The Wrong Union for Us



30% of all dues money goes to services or costs not connected to InFlight
(Lobbyists, Economist, Admin., etc)


Calculation method used to determine dues is inaccurate, according to topped-out Southwest FAs!
(What is their source for determining hourly wages?)


Many of the organizations they represent have inconsistent dues structures.
(Why are they different? Who knows what ours will be?)


TWU Local 555 has been in negotiations for 3+ years.  Allegiant FAs have been in negotiation for 3.5 years.

How long will we wait....??



Their style of negotiation potentially increases the negotiation time period by a significant amount (Why is it us against the company?)


They have no understanding of our culture. Their information is based on a portion of Inflight



They have experience working with 1 airline flight attendant group (Southwest). Their experience is with Bus companies, airline ground crews, large metropolitan transportation companies. 


Virgin America would be the smallest organization (900) they represent. The next group has 2100. Where would their loyalties lie?
(Remember in 2007 they attempted to stop us from operating altogether & this year they had two conflicting petitions for gates at Dallas Love Field)


Get the facts, then vote. Require Accountability


TWU's Experience


Started by subway workers eventually expanding to other "TRANSIT" workers. First Airline was Pan American (GROUND SERVICE EMPLOYEES).
Only flight attendant experience is with Southwest Airlines and currently still in negotations for a contract with Allegiant. American Airlines "Seceded" to form their OWN union.  (


AFA(Association of Flight Attendants) the largest union (representing 60,000 flight attendants). This is EXPERIENCE!!


Check the history! One airline's flight attendants does NOT make experience!!

Food 4 Thought

Some Financial Information on TWU

2013 Financials

Basic Financials

Assets   - $25,121,397

Income  - $44,828,839

Dues      - $19,076,258


Political Activities and Lobbying  - $1,045,272


General Overhead and Union Administration



Ask yourself: Where is that 30% going?


In-House, you will know where your dues dollars are going!!!  




The Real TWU - Not All It Claims to Be...?

"WN & VX Sharing and Informing" Facebook Group Launched!



Virgin America teammates now have the unique opportunity to ask any questions related to TWU International and TWU Local 556, and have those questions directly answered by current TWU members at Southwest Airlines.
The new Facebook group saw 100 members within its first 48 hours of being created - along with some great, informative posts from ou Southwest friends to kick things off.
ITMs at Virgin America are invited to join the group and check out the group description, then request to join. Details are posted within the description.
This is a SAFE PLACE for all members of the forum to interact. It's a valuable tool in informing our teammates on the latest concerns Southwest FAs have with their Local, as well as their International union leadership, their operations, and practices. 

We'll be posting a few important findings here within the next few days, so please check back soon! 

Find the Group - and ASK YOUR QUESTIONS - HERE

Celebrate Diversity....?
Contributing to TWU is contributing to this: 

Is THIS where you want your money to go? Good old boys' network?

A Virgin America Teammates Shares Why He Feels a Union is Wrong for VX

Here is an open letter to all InFlight Teammates at Virgin America from Mazen Nabulsi: 




Dear Friends/Colleagues,


After much contemplation and discussion with teammates and other union airline employees, I have decided to VOTE NO TO TWU at this time; instead I will vote YES to a union-free Virgin America. I am not anti-union, but I WILL ONLY VOTE YES when I believe that our leadership has been a 100% utter failure--This I cannot say. This does not mean that I do not support your frustrations, but merely the method of how I want to address those particular issues.


I have served on committees, employed direct personal and e-mail advocacy with our management to address issues. Although it is not perfect here, the “grass isn’t greener on the other side” either. I will admit,I came close to quitting twice because of my frustrations. Like many of us, this is my first airline job. I lacked the “frame of reference” of being employed at another airline to compare my VX experience. My brother, a former legacy carrier flight attendant, gave me perspective and assured me that things will improve as our airline matures and my seniority improves. He reminded me that while he was employed at his other carrier and in spite of union representation, he encountered similar scheduling issues, losthis benefits, retroactively had his wages reduced to year 1994, and would have been on reserve for up to 20 years.


We can all agree that a union will change the culture and our leadership interaction. Problems that once could be handled quickly will now require a grievance petition, potentially requiring months to address. In past, I have respectfullywritten to our leadership addressing my own grievances of the times. My complaints were either addressed or responses were provided to help me better understand the “why” of their decisions. Some of my biggest complaints of that particular timeare no longer issuestoday due to our direct working relationship with leadership.


Additionally, I have had the opportunity to speak with other union airline employees. Just today, I spoke with two major carrier flight attendants who expressed their frustration of dragged union contract negotiations, and similar issues with crew scheduling, and recently changed travel privileges, etc. An airlineemployee/friend is trying to apply here at Virgin America due to his frustration at his own company, and despite union representation.A friend of mine at another legacy carrier expressed her discontent with her employer despite union representation. Another friend of mine was impressed that our company matches 401(k) contributions by 5%, when his unionized company only has a 2% match.I also spoke with a legacy pilot who asked about the hotels we stayed at, my response was met with impressiveness. When I asked him where his airline put their employees up, he responded, “at dumps”!


I know things are not perfect here either and I share your frustration on those issues that need addressing. Such issues include Crew Scheduling, a lack of open time,


timing-out, fatigue, no part-time program, and limitations on the number of hours you can fly. However, many things give me hope that our leadership is concerned and willing to work with us. Two of the most supportive individuals have been elevated to key positions—Valerie Jenkins and Aladdin Nabulsi. If you know them, you know your well-being is their main concern. In past, we have received raises that were neither promised nor part of our original pay scale plan, and increased matches for our 401(k). Most recently, revised travel privileges for those without parents (which very few airlines offer), new IROP pay scale, 18-hour “walk or waive” rule, and a soon-to-be-released “fatigue policy”.


I correspond with management via e-mail with ideas on working to improve those areas of concern. I welcome you to do the same in a respectful and constructive tone. If only we inundated our leadership with constructive ideas and experiences (good and bad) to help them better understand our frustrations, as we do on Facebook, it would certainly get their attention. It is time management take action to address the frustrations of in-flight, and in-flight participate in that dialogue constructively as one team.


I ask that my fellow teammates give our new Director of In-Flight Valerie Jenkins, Base Managers Aladdin Nabulsi and Mya Tebeau, and all our supervisors the opportunity to address these very important issues. I am willing to give our new leadership an opportunity to address these issues. I have spoken with them individually, and I can assure you that your concerns are also theirs. I know things are not perfect at Virgin America, but I am not yet willing to declare our leadership a failure and unconcerned. We are fortunate that we have great jobs and people we work with. If we didn’t, their would have been mass resignations. If you know anyone who has worked at other airlines with a union, their flight attendants continue to experience the same frustrations we have. I respect and trust the judgment of my flight attendant colleagues to vote in whatever way they feel is best for their future and Virgin America. My difference is limited to the method, a union, but our concerns are the same. I hope you will give our leadership this opportunity to get things right, union-free, and make Virgin America an even better company for our employees.



TWU NOW SHOVING FORWARD - No patience, just pressure

The campaign is barrelling forward, despite recent changes at VX to improve our lives.


TWU is actively making calls, sending messages and emails out, and using their point people to personally approach ITMs to ask them for their support.

They have a very well-funded and well-organized, for-profit machine behind them. 
Sadly, the dues of Southwest flight attendants are being used to try and get us to join their union. And if VX joins, YOUR money will be used to pressure flight attendants at other airlines to join as well. This is a simple fact, no matter how TWU's supporters try to spin it. 
This is a FOR-PROFIT business which is trying to get YOU to sign over MONEY FROM YOUR PAYCHECK to them every month.
This IS a third party, by definition: they take money directly out of your paycheck, whether you voted for them to represent you or not. This will be a condition of your employment - no choice, just forced membership.

Don't be fooled: a union is NOT just you. It's a national organization with good-old-boy politics up top. Check out below how much their leadership is paid! (Full article on this page.) And YOU will be paying these men (no women in the top posts)!
Pressure, coersion, and sowing distrust in management. These are the tactics of those pushing for a third-party union at VX.
But it's okay to say NO!

It's okay to sit back and wait this out. Our recent messages from management - the ones who had faith to hire you and who pay you every two weeks - have shown that they're getting our message.

So why shove this in our faces now, before our new leaders have a chance to show us what they're made of??

THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE SHOULD BE ASKING. Why now? Why not give Val a shot? Why is TWU the only way to get anything changed??

Because it's okay to love your airline! It's okay to PROTECT VIRGIN AMERICA from outside influence. It's okay NOT to have more money funneled out of your paycheck for an uncertain future.


Thanks for taking the time to read this.

And please share this website with your fellow ITMs.

TOGETHER, we will continue to get frequent raises, recognition, and the changes we need - QUICKER than any union could push for it, and without paying extra money to support them.


Union Leadership - Who Are They? What Are They Paid?

A search online brings up a lot of interesting information on today's unions, their leaders, and their huge salaries. 
The recent Occupy Movement was all about executive pay and abuse of power - ideas which resonated with nearly every American, but in various ways. Some were willing to vote with their wallets and feet, others were not.

Here is a collection of links to help you decide for yourself the answers to the following questions:

-Who are today's union leaders?

-What demographics are reprensented in the lineup of leadership?

-What do these leaders make? And what are their bonuses on top of their pay?

-Are these leaders part of the 99% - or part of the 1%?


Enjoy the reading, and thanks for taking the time to visit our site!


Union Leader Photos and Salaries
(What do all of the photos have in common.....? All white, all men.)


AFL-CIO President's income broken down

(TWU falls under the AFL-CIO - check their webpage too)


Hefty Salaries and Perks for Union Leaders - and their families...


Leaders' Lives of Luxury - Living Off Dues of Workers


From - TWU Officers' Salaries

ONE THIRD of Union Members Would OPT OUT - If Given the Choice

Unfortunately, the operative phrase here is: "IF GIVEN THE CHOICE".


Sadly, union membership is forced - it's a condition of your employment, whether you voted to bring it into your company or not.
A recent survey, though, found that as many as 36% of current union members would opt out if they even had such an option. These are responses from workers in both Right to Work and non-Right to Work states!

Articles can be found linked below.

It is disturbing that unions, which claim to be the ultimate protection for workers, aren't confident enough to make membership in their organizations optional in states which do not offer Right to Work protections. But they've also been extremely successful in thwarting efforts to decertify them - as in the case of the Santa Barbara News-Press

This means that once a union is established at your company, you must pay in order to keep your job. You must financially support an organization which may or may not support you when you need them. You must pay to have them lobby on the national level for political causes with which you may not agree or wish to be aligned with. You must pay into the huge paychecks of union leadership. You must pay to help that union cover the costs of rallying other companies - perhaps even your competitors - to build their numbers.

You get the idea. One out of three unionized workers in this country are being forced to pay into something they don't believe in. For whatever reason, these people feel that either their dues aren't getting them a return on their investment, or that the unions don't have everyone's interests in mind - certainly not the interests of these 33-36% of workers. Do WE at Virgin America want to take this chance? Are we willing to put a third or more of our workforce in this position, in the hopes that a union would make all of the improvements we'd like to see?


Stop to think about this survey, and its meaning. Then feel free to explore the site, read other information, and form your own opinions.


And once again, thanks for visiting the site!


COMPREHENSIVE article on the survey and on union tactics to prevent themselves from decertification



Short news VIDEO discussing the survey article on the survey



In Oregon 31% and in Washington 35% of residents surveyed want out






Brief article from SF Biz Journal:


Wall Street Journal article: 


NO ONE Represents YOU better than YOU! BELIEVE IN YOU - VOTE NO!

Don't be afraid of who you are 

Light up the night like a shooting star 
Believe in you; Break through!

 -from Believe in You by Oscillator X


Why YOUR Fellow ITMs Will Vote NO.

Thanks for visiting YOUR Virgin America ITM-powered website for information on why to VOTE NO on TWU. We are your Teammates, and you are welcome here!


There are many possible reasons you're here.

You're undecided on whether to vote No or Yes.

You're not even sure you should vote.

You've heard tons already, but want to seek out more information from sources other than TWU itself or Virgin America.

You're already planning to vote one way or another and this is just for your entertainment.

Or perhaps you have another reason.


No matter what your reason, WELCOME.

Just as in your flying office, your Teammates welcome you here.

This is not a place for debate. It's not a place you can argue your points, or watch a heated dicussion unfold.

This is an all-inclusive info resort! A place where you'll find info from YOUR fellow ITMs who support a NO vote on the TWU referendum.



Please explore the site and find the information you've been looking for.



-YOUR VX ITM "No TWU Committee"





If you support a NO vote on TWU, please contribute to this site! Email your quotes, website links which others may find useful, or make a video to share! You can email all of these things to:



Also, feel free to write in our guestbook!

(No slander, specifics, or personal attacks, please. JUST comments as to why you SUPPORT a NO vote. No 'Yes' people, please. You have a site. The aforementioned will not be approved for viewing.)

A Video Message from Erik Kruse

An introduction to the site from 2011 - but the message is still relevant!

This website is privately funded and maintained, and comments and opinions expressed herein are not screened, endorsed, funded or supported by TWU or Virgin America. All personal material posted here is used with permission of its creators and writers.

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