CUPE’s airline workers will fight back against unpaid work

CUPE’s Airline Division Component Presidents are meeting this week in Vancouver to discuss how to end the widespread industry use of unpaid labour. Flight attendants regularly perform hours of unpaid work every time they report for duty – a practice that must stop.

“If you’re a firefighter, a bank teller, an electrician, or almost any other profession in Canada, when you show up for work and perform work duties, you’re on the clock and you’re compensated for your time. For flight attendants in Canada, that simply isn’t the case,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division. “Flight attendants deserve to be paid for hours worked, and we’re going to step up this fight to make sure they are.”

Although there are variations at each airline, generally speaking, most flight attendants in Canada are at work, in uniform, performing work-related duties long before they start – and long after they stop – getting paid. It is estimated that between 20 and 50 per cent of a Canadian flight attendant’s time at work is unpaid. Unpaid work may include things like prepping aircraft, boarding and deplaning passengers, gate duties, and safety-related duties.

The division presidents have been meeting this week to put plans in place to present a strong and united front across CUPE’s ten different airline groups, and raise public awareness and mobilize members to end this unfair and exploitive practice.

“This is a totally unacceptable industry practice that only exists because nobody knows about it,” said Rena Kisfalvi, Secretary-Treasurer of the Division. “That is about to change.”

CUPE’s Airline Division represents approximately 18,500 flight attendants working at ten different airlines in Canada.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Component Officers Update

This is an update to keep you informed of some of the things we have been working on.

2022 Bargaining Re-Opener Continuation
The Union and the Company are moving forward to the next phase in the re-opener process which is mediation.  Once dates have been selected, we will advise the membership.  As part of our ongoing promise to you, we will keep you advised of where we are in the process and what has transpired.

Cost of Living Allowance – LOU 35
The Company and the Union were in mediation last week with our Chief Arbitrator William Kaplan.  CHQ-22-48 (COLA, LOU 35) was discussed. There was some attempt to mediate however there was no change to the current position of either party, and no resolution was reached.  The Union and the Company will move this forward to arbitration. When dates have been established, we will advise you.

Wheelchairs and Duties Outside of the Aircraft
We wanted to give a friendly reminder that pushing wheelchairs, assisting at gates and assisting with baggage on the bridge is not our role as cabin crew.  When issues arise inside the aircraft, that falls to us to assist.  Please be mindful that our colleagues on the ground are sometimes short staffed or in training and may require more time.  If you are required to remain onboard to look after passengers awaiting assistance from an agent, please claim the time.  You are not required, nor is it encouraged for you to push wheelchairs up the bridge, assist with carry offs or direct passengers at the gate, we are not trained for these roles, and need to always maintain proper crew compliment on the plane, that’s our role, and we never want to jeopardize safety.

Hotel and Ground Transportation Issues
We wanted to send a reminder that reporting hotel and ground transportation issues is critical to effecting change in the future. When hotel and ground transportation contracts are up for renewal your Hotel Committee and Air Canada management rely on the information found in crew care reports to justify a change in the market. Please continue to report even if it’s a repetitive issue and encourage others on your crew who experience issues to also report.

Foreign Objects Found in Ovens

There has been an increase in reports of foreign objects found in ovens (FOD). In the latest inflight news on November 4, 2022, crews were notified of this increased hazard in our workplace and then reminded to follow sections 2.10.2 and of the FAM, which address pre-flight checks. The instructions continue with procedures to follow if FOD is discovered. We know you are already doing this because that is how the increase in statics was noticed by management! We must point out though, that based on reports submitted by you, it appears many of the foreign objects originate from catering contractors – not crew as implied in the IFS News.

We are calling on management to share with committees in an open and transparent manner what is being done to address the hazard. This has gone on too long despite your committee reps repeatedly raising the alarm for months and getting no answers. Our pre-flight checks can only detect so much. Cabin crews and their verifications aren’t the only layer of protection when it comes to oven incidents. It is incumbent on all personnel, including contracted parties, to adhere to the same rigorous standards. For example, if objects are stuck to the bottom of dishes or under oven sleeves this is a failure of catering contractors to ensure safety. If deficiencies are noticed, they must be assessed, solutions implemented, and follow-up conducted to ensure the hazard has been mitigated. These objects must be stopped at their source!

What can we do about it?

Please send a copy of every report related to foreign objects found in ovens to your union at

In solidarity,

Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee

Mainline and Rouge Metering Process MOAs – Further Extension

The Union is once again pleased to report that we have signed another Memorandum of Agreement with both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge regarding the metering process.  This most recent MOA further extends the duration of the Metering Process MOA without interruption from the end of the October 2022 block month until the end of the December 2022 block month.

– Click here for a copy of the original May 2022 Mainline MOA
– Click here for a copy of the August 2022 Mainline MOA extension
– Click here for a copy of the November 2022 Mainline MOA additional extension

– Click Here for a copy of the Rouge original May 2022 MOA
– Click here for a copy of the August 2022 Rouge MOA extension
– Click here for a copy of the November 2022 Rouge MOA additional extension

Please continue to report any issues in regards to metering through the following link: Metering Complaint – AC Component.

Mainline Service Directors, please note you are required to file a ground duty claim to have you and your crew paid, if you have any issues, please fill out the above form.  Rouge Leads, no action is required, it will be processed for you, however any discrepancies or issues, please also report.

In solidarity,

Updated Maternity Handbook

The Component Women’s Committee is pleased to announce that we have updated our Maternity Handbook. We hope that this provides updated information about the who, what, when, where, and how for prospective parents.

Click HERE for the English version of the Maternity Handbook

Click HERE for the French version of the Maternity Handbook

You can also find the Maternity Handbook on the Component website at under the Resources tab.

We understand that this can be a challenging and exciting time and hope this updated handbook makes your journey easier. If you have any questions and need guidance through this process, we are here for you. You can reach out to us at