We are writing to let you know that we fully understand how difficult the waiting and wondering is with the myriad questions that you have relating to the Canada Emergency Care Benefit (CERB) and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) programs.
We want to let you know that we continue to have talks with the employer to ensure that the interests of the members are fully served. These talks continue and will continue throughout the Easter weekend, as required. We promise you that as soon as there is information to share you will be the first ones privy to it. We fully understand that this requires patience on your part and thank you for your ongoing support.
You want answers. We want to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all of your questions. These will follow as soon as they are available, including over the weekend as needed.
We have received countless emails today since the announcement of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, which is still subject to Government approval. We are working tirelessly with the Company to work out the finer details of this program and will provide further updates shortly.
We do want to clarify that members will have the option to opt-out of receiving wages through the CEWS program, and apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), if they are better served financially through CERB. Members cannot receive both a wage through the CEWS and CERB benefits, but can select one of the options depending on which program offers a better financial benefit.
Under this arrangement members will:
Be returned onto Air Canada’s payroll
Receive a maximum of $847 per week
Receive health care benefit continuation (as per the Collective Agreement)
Have pension contributions deducted based on all amounts paid and receive pensionable service
See the stop of employee wage claw back deductions during this period
See the stop of employee uniform deductions during this period
Be given the option to receive wages under the CEWS program or to remain on off-duty status without pay, and apply for the CERB
This arrangement will cease on the earlier of June 6, 2020 OR when a member is recalled back to work. Mitigation discussions will continue, as presently the CEWS program is only available until June 5, 2020.
We also want to remind members that per diems and other allowances are not considered income, as they are to reimburse you for an employment cost. This is why they are not taxed or subject to other deductions.
We understand that there are many questions and we are working to provide more details. We appreciate your patience at this time.
Your Component Executive and Company representatives have been in discussions regarding various issues relating to the COVID-19 virus on an ongoing basis. One of the topics of discussion was the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which would provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Air Canada advised us that they had been involved in conversations with the government about this program for its employees. They provided details and we took it back for discussion to your executive body (ACCEX).
Your Local Presidents and Component Officers discussed the proposed program and we unanimously voted in favour to move forward.
An agreement was reached earlier this week between Air Canada and its unions (CUPE, ACPA, UNIFOR, IAM, CALDA) which will see the CEWS program implemented at Air Canada, subject to its adoption into law substantially as announced. The employer is now working on all of the facets of this program on an expedited basis.
The program and its benefits would be retroactive to March 15, 2020. If implemented, all of our members who are currently on Off-Duty status will immediately be returned to the payroll, retroactively. This means you will not show ODS for any duration at this point, and any income owed under the plan will be payable. You will be paid 75% of your hourly wage to a max of $847.00 per week. This will include continued participation in benefits and pension plans. Air Canada will continue to contribute to the pension plan as will each employee. This will continue until June 6, 2020 or when you are recalled, whichever is earlier.
The pay calculations will be based on 75 hours for Mainline members (Block holder and reserves) and 77.5 for Rouge members, up to a maximum of $847.00 a week. These calculations will be based on April 1, 2020 wage rates.
There may be some of you who have already applied for other programs through the government. You will be required to contact Service Canada to advise them that you are now going to be returned to the payroll. We have asked for more information about the best way to approach this and will provide information as it becomes available. We appreciate that there will be many questions related to this but we promise that when we know about it, you will know about it. We understand how difficult this time is and will work to ensure you are well informed.
There will be a new bid to follow that will allow all members to indicate their preference to either continue to work or to be in receipt of the CEWS program benefits. As you can imagine this is time-sensitive, and you will hear more information in the coming days. We thank you for your patience during this time as there were many things to clarify and to understand about how this program would affect our membership. We will continue to be here to support and inform the membership and will work with our local offices so that our collective knowledge is solid and consistent.
One way to keep yourself informed of new information is to download the Air Canada Component Mobile App. You will receive all bulletins straight to your phone.
Your login information for our mobile app is the same as your login for the Air Canada Component website, www.accomponent.ca. If you have not signed into the website since we updated it in 2019 you will need a password, which can be obtained by clicking on the “Forgot Your Password” link at the bottom of the website’s sign in section. If you have not received your password reset in 24 hours check your junk email folder. Please do not submit multiple requests in the 24-hour time frame.
The Union has filed Policy Grievance CHQ-20-10. Click HERE to view.
This Policy Grievance addresses the Company’s differential pay scale system for Mainline members who have undergone “flow-through” from Rouge. With the enhanced wage equity protections introduced by Bill C-86, and now enshrined in the Canada Labour Code, it is the Union’s position that different pay rates for members with the same seniority amount to a breach of the Code.
We understand that this information has been a long time coming, and we sincerely thank members for their patience on this particular grievance. We wanted to be certain of the merits and legal arguments in support of this issue. Having had time to review fully with legal counsel, we are confident in our position. We will keep you updated, as always.
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE
As many of you are aware the Union is working through LOU 60 with regards to further mitigations for the May 2020 block month forward. The current Off Duty Status as per LOU 6 that many of you are on is for the April 2020 block month only.
The Union and the Company have received many questions regarding the summer SPLOA’s and Reduced Block Program, which, as you know, has now been closed. The Union and the Company are working on putting together a package to move us forward with mitigation options. We have had multiple productive meetings over the week with the Company and our hope was to have more in depth information for everyone this weekend, but both sides want to ensure that we are looking at all available options. At this time, we still require further discussions prior to coming out with any mitigation package and we are now looking at later next week to have further information for our membership.
We appreciate that this is a time filled with uncertainty and we want to assure you that we will get you the information as soon as available.