Reclaiming our Role, Focus on Safety

The Component has been staying actively involved with each turn of events that impacts our members. The COVID-19 virus is still with us, and our members continue to be on the front lines. The latest crisis that the airline industry is moving through once again puts our members front and centre. This means that those at work are now subjected to an increase in aggressive and abusive behaviour from travellers, scheduling disruptions, hotel insufficiencies, crew rest interruptions, RAIC delays, catering shortages, crew scheduling wait times and so many other challenges. This list is long and continues to grow and can sometimes distract us from our work and our purpose.

We thought that now might be a good time for us to refocus and to remember the reason that we are here. Even though we are expected to be mindful of service and the needs of our passengers, our primary function is on board safety and security. We have new colleagues who are working with us, and they are embarking on this new career. They are navigating this new world and using all the safety related information learnt in Initial training and applying it in the real world.  We must show them that despite many distractions, that safety truly is paramount. We are safety professionals above all else.

It is important to remember that during the boarding process you are not required to set up the galley at all – in fact, ePub suggests you should be visible in the cabin rather than congregating at the rear of the cabin or standing in the galleys.

We are our own worst enemies when we pressure our co-workers into cutting safety corners to compensate for the lack of sufficient crew on board. Company generated peer-pressure will not be a compelling defense during any post incident investigation. Nor will the Company ever increase crew complement … why should they? If the crew is getting the job done, who cares how?

We are all responsible to stand up for safety. Protect both yourself and your crew by performing the following duties as outlined in your S.E.P. Manual and the Collective Agreement:

  • Your typical duty period starts 1 hour prior to departure on narrow-body flights, 1h10 prior on wide-body, and 1h15 prior on B777 flights. The employer is within their right to have you start earlier than these prescribed times, as per Article B5.03 and this time is compensated as per Article 5.08.  You are not required to start any duties prior to the start of your duty period – not at the communications centre, not on the bus to the airport, not on the aircraft.
  • At the communications centre you are required to log into CrewLink, check in, and print your self-briefing material for your pairing. You should check your file folder for communications and transmittals. If there is a safety transmittal, you are required to read and insert this prior to boarding the aircraft. You are then required to log into ePub and acknowledge receipt of the new transmittals.
  • You are required to complete all safety checks and procedures prior to boarding passengers. Some of these duties are:
    • Attend a safety briefing with your entire crew. Ensure the pilots brief you on flight conditions, taxi time, etc.
    • Have up-to-date publications (356 & 378) with a valid Cabin Crew Dangerous Goods Training Certificate.
    • Ensure Emergency Positions & Equipment checklist is filled out, reviewed, and submitted to the Captain.
    • Stow your baggage in designated cabin crew stowage compartments (if there are any service items in your way, call to have them removed).
    • Ensure your seat belt is working correctly: securely anchored, fully retractable, not twisted or frayed, inertia wheel operative, seat belt / harness adjusted to fit and stowed.
    • All safety and emergency equipment is available and ready to use.
    • Ensure that P.A. is functional.
    • Water tanks are full and waste tanks have been serviced.
    • Safety features cards should be checked to ensure they correspond to the aircraft.
    • Safety demo equipment (video and manual) is available and ready to use.
    • All circuit breakers should be checked to ensure they are operative.
    • Verify that there are no suspicious items onboard, including in the cabin, in the galleys, as well as the galley equipment and lavatories.
    • If a Medipak is boarded, make sure it is in its specified location and confirm with the Captain.
    • Ensure white tamper evident seals are in place in the lavatories.
    • Ensure galley equipment is secured and operative.
    • Ensure door areas are clear and available for emergency use.
    • Ensure cabin curtains are open and secure.
    • The Company also suggests you verify that there is no grease on any of the oven racks and no paper products in the ovens.

Every time you get on board, ask yourself this question … Safety or service first?

We acknowledge that although some of the information above is from a previous Union bulletin, it still rings true today. There could not be a more perfect time in history to be reminded of the value of the work that we do and to take pride in it each time we don our uniforms. Our work matters and it is time we reclaim our power and the meaningful recognition that is deserving for our colleagues here at home and around the world.

Look after one another, report safety and security issues as required and remember the one crew concept, it’s there to ensure safety will remain our guiding principle.

In solidarity,

Update – Increased Onboard Service

We would like to provide an update on the onboard service reintroduction topic in our bulletin published yesterday found by clicking HERE

We have heard from so many members on this issue and your sincere emails and correspondence are not falling on deaf ears. We are gratified to see how eloquent and hardworking our members are and their ability to describe what is really going on onboard.

We had constructive conversations with the Company today and they have also commented on the letters that they have received.  They are currently re-evaluating the service introductions and will provide an update early next week. We promise to provide any news as soon as it comes available. We are proud of our members and the fact that they take pride in what they do and can communicate directly with us and the employer to foster meaningful practical changes.

In solidarity,

Increased Onboard Service

We have heard from many of you regarding the “Summer Product Introductions Bulletin” issued earlier this week. We too are dismayed that the Company feels now is the time to increase our onboard offerings considering we cannot reliably deliver on our current products. The simple fact is that you are overwhelmed and exhausted. This latest crisis in the airline industry has resulted in catering shortages, angry and disruptive passengers, countless delays and scheduling changes, hotel shortages/crew rest issues and numerous other concerns we are fielding hourly.

We have shared your concerns directly with upper management and advised our strong position that these changes be delayed until at least September when we hope things have returned to normal in the operation. We will update you when we hear back, but in the meantime please share your concerns in a professional manner to your management team and copy your Union. They need to hear directly from you the operational realties you are facing and why now is not the time to be introducing new services.

In solidarity,

Rouge Duty Overtime Premium

As part of the Interest Arbitration award issued by Arbitrator Vince Ready, the Union was awarded language to provide Air Canada Rouge crew members a Duty Overtime premium.  Arbitrator Ready awarded the following language:

L55.07.06 Whenever an employee’s duty period is extended past 14 hours, and the employee did not self-impose the extension by changing a deadhead, the employee will be paid an additional $100 for every additional hour the duty period is extended.

The above premium in no way prevents an employee from taking crew rest as per article L55.15.01.04.

The Union’s interpretation of this article is that the minute your duty period extends beyond 14 hours, you would be entitled to $100 in compensation and a further $100 above 15 hours, a further $100 above 16 hours etc.

The Company has taken a different interpretation in that you must work a full additional hour beyond 14 hours before being eligible for the additional $100 in compensation. So if your duty day was extended to 14:59, there would be no requirement to provide any compensation as you did not reach 15 hours.

The Union finds the Company’s interpretation flawed as the first portion of the awarded language states “Whenever an employee’s duty period is extended past 14 hours” which is clear what was to trigger the first payment of $100. In addition, part of the Arbitrator’s award makes mention of Rouge’s direct comparators receiving this benefit. WestJet, Air Transat, Sunwing, Swoop collective agreements provide for premium pay that is triggered as soon as a member’s duty period exceed their scheduled maximum, so why would it start an hour later at Rouge?

As such our Legal Counsel has reached out to the Arbitrator’s office asking that he clarify the intent of his award. We will keep members informed of any developments as they become available.

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX