N95 Respirators

The company sent out a memo regarding the fact that they will now be provisioning 1 N95 respirator per crew member.

Your health and safety representatives want to set the record straight. This change did not happen overnight and represents a long, long serious disagreement by the Union, its health and safety representatives, and its members.

It was only after many public calls for increased personal protection equipment onboard, many outreaches to the press, many conversations with Company representatives and the courageous efforts of certain members who stood up for their workers’ rights that change happened.

You may have noticed a posting in your crew centre as of Friday evening notifying employees of a finding of DANGER from Transport Canada regarding social distancing onboard the aircraft. This follows the investigation of multiple work refusals. The decision reads:

Requiring Flight Attendants to come frequently into close proximity with passengers during the COVID19 outbreak, in order to provide regular service, with no possibility of social distancing presents a serious threat to their health.

Therefore, you are HEREBY DIRECTED, pursuant to paragraph 145(2) (a) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, to alter the activity that constitutes the danger immediately.

The company has since announced a reduction in service onboard, and that an N95 respirator will be provided to crew. However, the Union has been advised by the Company there will be more masks available this week for those who need replacements.  The Union acknowledges these efforts but feels that there is much more that needs to be done to protect our members.

The Union demands that the employer provide our crews with the full gamut of PPE required to safely conduct their duties and, in doing so, take care of our customers by:

  • Providing the regulatory-required fit testing to ensure N95 respirators are correctly sized to our members, ensuring maximum protection.
  • Establishing an opportunity for on-site training to assist employees with understanding the do’s and don’ts of donning and removing this PPE.
  • Providing a clear explanation of when the N95 respirator provides maximum benefit.
  • Provide crew with the proper storage and advice should the mask get crushed.
  • Provided clearer guidance on how to assess end of usefulness since these respirators are not good for unlimited use, even if not soiled.
  • Remind employees that the front of the respirator should never be touched to prevent contamination of the hands.
  • Establish a clear process for the replacement of N95 respirators.
  • Make clear that proper donning and removal procedures must be exercised regardless of how short a period the respirator is off the face.

Providing the additional universal precautions equipment that is crucial to full protection – over and above what is contained in the UPK kits –  including additional eye visors and full-sleeve smocks which are used by other professionals when in close proximity to persons suspected of contagious disease.

The Union’s position is that this PPE should remain a staple of our onboard personal protective equipment ALWAYS so that we never have to put ourselves at risk for weeks on end in the future. We must NEVER turn our backs on this hazard.

Thank you for reporting, for your encouragement and your bravery facing what has been confirmed to be a genuine danger in the workplace. Reporting works when everyone faced with the danger does it. Workers’ rights work when we all know them and apply them.

In solidarity,

Q & A Regarding Off Duty Status

The Company today has advised the Union of the following surplus Cabin Personnel for the April 2020 block month, by base:

  • Mainline YUL: 530
  • Mainline YYZ: 1,765
  • Mainline YYC: 267
  • Mainline YVR: 973
  • Rouge YTO/YMQ: 1,549

The Company further reiterated that those of you who have applied for Special Leaves of Absence (SPLOA) for April 2020 will be converted to Off-Duty Status, enabling you to apply to Employment Insurance Benefits.

Please CLICK HERE to view Air Canada Q&A regarding LOU 6 Off-Duty Status.

Please CLICK HERE to view a message from Air Canada Rouge regarding LOU 6, there is unfortunately no Q&A.

Please note that any Mainline members wishing to take the voluntary options have until March 23, 2020, at 0800 EDT. Please ensure you follow the guidelines and use your Air Canada email address including your base and employee number.

We understand this is a very challenging time for each and every one of you.  Each of us will be affected in different ways, but we will all be affected.

Over the weekend we will be working and monitoring the situation, if anything needs to be reported to you, we will ensure it is done in a timely manner.
In Solidarity,

Update From Your Component Officers

Your Component Executive along with the Local offices have been inundated with the amount of questions that have come in. We understand that these are difficult times and we are working hard to get answers to all of your questions.

We have been in discussions with the Company today and they will be coming out with a full Question & Answer package to explain “off-duty status” and what will occur for the April 2020 block month. The information provided will be for members at both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. Once that package is received, we will also be forwarding it out from the Air Canada Component to ensure that all members have it in a timely fashion.

Please remember going forward that any options will be communicated through your Air Canada email, so we encourage you to ensure that it is active. You can find directions on how to access your Air Canada email on ACAeronet.

For our Rouge members we completely understand that this time is unsettling however the union has no further update with regards to the plans of Air Canada Rouge beyond April 2020.

For our Mainline members the primary concern seems to be with regards to the “off-duty status” for April 2020. We want to confirm that if you applied for the special leave of absence (SLPOA) or if you are thinking of applying for the “off-duty status” on a voluntary basis, that this will only be applicable for April 2020.  Further mitigations and reductions will take place for May 2020 onwards and Article 17 and LOU 60.05 of the Collective Agreement will be in full effect.
In Solidarity,

International Women’s Day 2020

March 8 is International Women’s Day — a day to recognize women’s achievements and acknowledge the challenges we continue to face in the quest for gender equality.

This year, let us be #EachforEqual, because an equal world is an enabled world. We invite you to help promote gender equality through your thoughts, words and actions.

Our history, as a profession, has come a long way in understanding and valuing women. Globally flight attendants – previously called air hostesses – were once seen as sex symbols. Their bodies used as advertising for airlines, selling their image as a promise of a good time on-board. While we have come away from this barbaric practice, we are still not a fully harassment free profession. CUPE is committed to addressing and preventing sexual violence at work and recognizes that everyone has a right to work in a safe environment. Did you know that 43% of women still experience some form of sexual harassment at work? That is unacceptable. Let us challenge ourselves now to question stereotypes, to fight the bias that our profession carries and to really treat each other with respect and dignity.

Collectively we have made many strives to ensure that as flight attendants we have equality in pay, job security and job progression opportunities and it is vital now to ensure equality in other areas for women and those who identify as women.

Beyoncé once said, “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet.” But I promise you that together we CAN make it a reality.

Remember that the rise of women is not about the fall of men. Let us be a generation that expects gender balance and fights to achieve it. Let us be #EachforEqual.

Happy International Women’s Day from your Air Canada Component of CUPE.

In Solidarity,

Rebeca Woodward
Chair, Component Womens Committee