The flight attendants, referred to by the company as Inflight Team Members, elected to be represented by Transport Workers Union of America in a 430-307 vote.
In a statement, Los Angeles-based Inflight Team Member Adam Croteau said, “We’re excited about what this election means for Inflight Team Members. We ran a very positive campaign and we believe that we can make positive changes at the airline by giving flight attendants a voice.”
The unionization is the first at a California airline — although based in Burlingame, Virgin America's main hubs are San Francisco and Los Angeles. The airline, which debuted in 2007 and markets itself as an upscale, trendy travel alternative, recently announced plans to IPO after earning its first profits last year. Since then, the company has continued its success — Virgin announced Tuesday $37 million profits in its second quarter, according to USA Today.
The Transport Workers Union of America also represents flight attendants at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines.
“Part of Southwest Airline’s success is due to the airline’s flight attendants, all of whom are TWU members. Having a union behind them gives Southwest flight attendants the comfort and freedom to do their jobs well,” said Virgin flight attendant Armando Fierros.
Virgin America flight attendants will begin their first contract negotiation this fall.