days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Air Canada Component President’s Quarterly Report – Spring 2016

PART 1 of 3

Note: Due to the length of this report, it will be presented in 3 parts


Dear friends and colleagues,

I didn’t think it would be possible for us here at the Union to be any busier than we had been throughout the seven months of collective bargaining and ensuing ratification process, but over the past few months, I’ve definitely been proven wrong. It’s busier – much, much busier. Implementing our new Collective Agreement – and the 43 new items we’ve secured for our members during bargaining – is a monumental and incredibly complex ongoing affair, and my schedule – along with Component Vice-President Edith Gagnon’s schedule – has been nothing less than daunting.

I can’t understate the level of change that’s happening for Air Canada flight attendants these days – there are so many updates and improvements to our community’s working lives being developed and implemented right now, and as such, there are so many different departments and people involved, all fuelled by the overarching commitment to get this all done as smoothly, transparently and quickly as possible. I wish I could transfer everything I’m witnessing into an organic format that every member could process, or if you could somehow all be there with me in person to witness all of these individual events, meetings and developments, and share in my enthusiasm for what’s coming. I understand that from the outside, looking in, most of this evolution is happening so gradually as to perhaps not be very noticeable. Or maybe we don’t really believe it yet, given past setbacks and disappointments. But change is definitely happening – and it’s very exciting.
As Air Canada flight attendants, we’ve endured so many hardships for so many years. It seems like every pitfall was followed by yet another downturn, year after year, gradually eroding our pride, our trust, and our morale. We fought amongst each other, learned to see everything through a filter of pessimism, and could never find a common direction to unite our forces behind. Our perspective on things changed, our self-confidence waned, and we stopped believing that one day, we would once again be proud of the work we do, and the Company we work for.
And while I’m certain that challenges remain, and that there will inevitably be some conflicts and disagreements ahead, what I’m witnessing right now is this: the Company’s attitude towards us is changing. In fact, it’s already quite improved from what I’ve seen over the past many years of distrust and antagonism. Air Canada senior management are actually rethinking the way they see, listen to, consult with, and deal with our group of In-Flight Safety Professionals. The attitude I’m seeing these days seems much more focused on doing better by their front-line staff, listening to our concerns, showing respect, working to solve problems before they become grievances, regaining our trust and rebuilding our pride. This attitude is coming from the top, and slowly but surely, it’s trickling down the ranks. And while I don’t think this means that grooming checks and disciplinary meetings are on their way out, I am extremely hopeful that because of this change, we’ll be able to mitigate many of our members’ daily problems and pressing issues without always having to take the difficult, costly and lengthy route of grievances and arbitrations.
We work for a very large company, and change doesn’t come easily in a corporate culture, especially for a big airline, but I can honestly say that every day I’m witnessing some very strong forces at play right now behind the scenes, working very hard at pushing forward this positive mandate to change the Air Canada culture.
This is being reported at all levels of our Union – at Component, at the Locals, and within our Committees. We’re seeing this new attitude play out at work, in our dealings with the Company, and in the undivided, forthright attention they’re granting us on a number of issues that were previously brushed under the carpet. I’m truly hopeful that this is the beginning of a permanent, long-lasting change, rather than a blip in the radar in labour relations at Air Canada.
For so long now, I’ve desperately wanted Air Canada to recognize what every single flight attendant already knew so well – that investing in our collective morale would pay dividends for a very long time, and that as the faces of our company, the ambassadors of our brand, our feelings of pride and loyalty would be mirrored by our job satisfaction and our enthusiasm for the work that we do, and resultantly, in our customers’ satisfaction. Knock on wood, but it looks like our Company has finally come to same conclusion.
Change doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It takes a long time, with many ups and downs along the way. Positive change must be nourished with mutual respect, trust, and patience. But again, let me reaffirm what I’m seeing every single day – change is happening. Good change, positive change. And by all accounts, Air Canada flight attendants are seemingly heading in a very promising direction. Finally.
Trip Trade System
On February 11, 2016, The Air Canada Component Executive (ACCEX) met with the Company to attend a presentation from our recently selected vendor. After carefully considering different options and providers, the Company decided to retain the trip-trade system originally designed by Lufthansa.
This Trip Trade system will provide our members with an easy, effective and intelligent method to trade pairings amongst each other, or alternatively, to trade-out pairings from one’s schedule without obtaining a different pairing in return, or add pairings to your schedule from the pool of available ‘traded-out’ pairings, without having to drop your own.
Very soon we are beginning a series of meetings with the Company to negotiate a brand-new Letter of Understanding (LOU) which will outline the exact parameters of this new system and make sure that it corresponds with our community’s needs and preferences. This particular trip-trade system is fully compatible with our existing Netline system. It also includes a newly-develo
ped mobile application which will allow our members to use this system on their smart phones or other mobile devices, and receive notifications about available pairings or successful trip-trades as they occur in real time. Although it is still early in the development process, it is eminently clear that the Trip Trade system, once implemented later this year will be a significant gain for our membership. It will be an extremely valuable scheduling tool that can provide us with many new individual options, and dramatically improve our work-life balance and personal income management.
Note: We are currently in talks with the Company to have this system implemented for our rouge colleagues once it has been successfully implemented at mainline.
Annual Profit Sharing
Once again, our members are eligible for an annual profit sharing payment from the Company. Given Air Canada’s very successful year, this bonus is higher than it was last year. The profit sharing payment will be included in your April 17th paycheques, but the amount is already displayed in your pay summary, available on My HR in Aeronet. Please note that this payment, as always, is considered taxable income.
Mainline iPad for Service Director
The Company is now ready to launch the iPads project for all mainline Service Directors. The devices are being handed out during the SD Excellence workshop, but the actual start-up of the project happens in May this year. The initial phase of this paperless initiative debuted with Air Canada pilots a few years ago and has been very successful, a much appreciated improvement for all pilots. We’re very hopeful that this project will be equally useful and popular for our Service Directors, and will help simplify many of our in-flight work processes. The Union will also continue to advocate that all Flight Attendants should be included in this project and hopefully receive these company issued devices to further reduce paper waste and increase our technological resources while at work. These devices will be extremely useful to cabin crew members, as they will be display precise passenger information, automatically update SOP manual bulletins and inserts, company notifications, IFS Reports and Health and Safety reports, and many other items. We are looking forward to hearing back from our members about this project, along with receiving suggestions and feedback to pass along to the Company.
Rouge Local 4098
Congratulations to our Union colleagues at the Rouge CUPE Local for obtaining a new office location at the YYZ airport! The new Local 4098 office is located across the hall from the Rouge communication center.
New Component Bylaws Committee
In 2015, the Air Canada Component Executive (ACCEX) approved by motion the creation of an ad-hoc Bylaws Committee established under Section 9.2 of the Air Canada Component of CUPE Bylaws. This Committee has the mandate of reviewing our existing Component Bylaws, soliciting and receiving suggestions and feedback from members, and eventually making recommendations to ACCEX regarding proposed changes and improvements to our existing Bylaws.
The Committee will undertake a review of Component Bylaws, solicit feedback from the membership, then present bylaw amendments and/or additions to ACCEX, which can then make final recommendations to be adopted by a Membership referendum vote.
The Bylaw Committee is composed of one (1) Committee Chair, (1) Component Member, and Five (5) Local Members, as follows:

Marc Roumy (Chair Person)
Sean Duncombe (Component)
Natasha Stea (YUL)
Larry Roy (YYZ)
Liz Locke (YVR)
Mary Mulholland (YYC)
Matt Carson (Rouge)

IMPORTANT: This Committee that will actively seek feedback from the membership at large, and any / all eventual proposed modifications or improvements to bylaws will first have to be voted on and approved by ACCEX, and then voted on by members in a referendum.
Increase to Wages and Meal Expenses
Effective April 1, 2016 you will see a 2% increase to your wages and to your domestic / transborder meal expense allowances. Breakfast will increase to $15.31, lunch to $17.35, dinner to $34.37 and midnight snack to $8.98.
STAY TUNED – the second instalment of this lengthy update will come soon!

In solidarity,

Michel Cournoyer
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Click HERE for a printable, and downloadable, version of this bulletin.