Dear friends and colleagues,
One of Enoch Powell’s most famous quotes goes: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” And while this saying does speak to the near-inevitable conclusion to most elected positions, Edith and I see Tuesday’s result not so much as a failure, but rather as the bittersweet yet predictable closure to a single chapter within a much longer, unscripted adventure. An adventure which will certainly have further twists, turns, ups and downs (both literally and figuratively!).
Edith and I had obviously hoped to finish the implementation of Trip Trade along with the many other remaining items from our Collective Agreement. We wanted to see through Component’s countless open files, arbitrations and campaigns, and take on some of the more ambitious projects from our mutual list of priorities over the next two years. Nevertheless, we’re both stepping away from our positions at Component with great pride in our accomplishments, appreciation for everything we’ve learned over the past few years, and immense gratitude for everybody who’s helped us, worked by our side, supported, encouraged and energized us along the way. This is humbling, stressful and demanding work, with immense challenges and uncertain outcomes throughout, but the experience and perspective we’ve both acquired along the way are priceless.
It’s obvious from Tuesday’s voting results that our Union remains divided (as we have been for so many years now). No matter which direction we take, or who gets elected to represent our community, our priorities continue to clash, our morale stays low, and our solidarity remains fragile, in stark contrast to so many other large Unions in Canada. And with this comes the harsh reminder that voting turnout remains critically low, which can only worsen our collective discontent. How can we, as a group, actually stand behind elected leaders or enact reasonably-democratic decisions, and then respect those choices as being truly representative of our whole if almost half of our membership can’t even be bothered to cast a vote?
We need to question the structure of our Union, the ethics of our system, and the values we want to advance and adopt as doctrine. Because real Unionism should be better than what we have right now. It should distinguish itself from regular everyday politics in its ability to transcend, to fiercely advocate for trust, truth, civility and respect. It should inspire the setting aside of personal issues, egos and petty conflicts for the greater good, and it should always – always – prioritize the good of the collective beyond any other goal. We need to advance the early and continuous Union education of individual members, along with encouraging involvement and selfless collaboration. We should empower our members by giving them the appropriate resources, skills and knowledge, by making them fully autonomous in their ability to find, understand and fact-check the information and popular opinions they are regularly exposed to. We need to engage each other more often, respectfully and in person, always reminding ourselves of our shared profession as In-Flight Safety Professionals.
And this drive should happen from the bottom up, led by rank and file members, individuals who are tired of the constant squabbling, divisiveness, disinformation and political infighting which plagues our Union. Our group-think needs to shift, and this can only happen through self-awareness, through a collective and stubborn expression of unity. We keep talking about the necessity of a culture change at Air Canada, but it’s clear that we should also be fighting for a culture change amongst ourselves, within our membership at large.
Edith and I are happy with what we’ve learned, and what we’ve contributed to our very large flying family. We’re content to leave behind the many successful innovations, improvements and communication initiatives we’ve incorporated into our Union, from our newfound National media exposure, our Bylaw Review Committee, our many Collective Agreement gains for Rouge and Mainline, our team of volunteer Communication Ambassadors, the upcoming launch of the new Component website, our Union’s increased transparency and accessibility via bulletins, social media and in-person base visits, our library of educational webinars, our Communication Chair’s successful worldwide promotion and adoption of International Flight Attendant Day, our improved job security, our Flow-Through, our Trip-Trade system, our Scope Clause, our GoodLife deal for members, the revitalization of the Airline Division, our ability to negotiate directly with senior AC management, our many successful arbitrations, our ongoing progress towards reversing the 1:50 ratio at the Governmental level, and so much more.
We’re confident that our teamwork will benefit our members for many years to come, and we’re looking forward to exchanging with our colleagues on flights in the very near future. We’ll continue making ourselves available to help answer any questions from members or from our newly-elected Component leaders as needed, and we wish them the best of luck as they step into their new responsibilities. The work they’re about to take on is extremely demanding. Working at Component requires great commitment, time, dedication and sacrifice, so let’s all extend them some patience, respect and support as they face the many challenges that lie ahead.
Michel & Edith
PS: Over the past few years, Edith and I have incorporated a great deal of personal video messaging into the Union’s communication methods, and as such, here’s our final official video message to our members:
ALSO: Both Edith’s and my own Component email addresses will shortly be deactivated, so if you’d like to get in touch with us, follow up on any unfinished communications between either one of us, or sign up for the Sky Communications Mailing List, feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at www.skycommunications.ca.