Under the Canada Labour Code, layoffs that exceed 12 months are considered a termination of employment and certain provisions of the Code begin to apply. To be clear this does not affect your five-year recall rights provided under the Collective Agreement.
In December 2020, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge applied to the Minister of Labour for a waiver of the Group Termination provisions of the Canada Labour Code pertaining to members who were laid off in June 2020. The Employer felt it did not need to follow the Canada Labour Code provisions due to the pandemic. CUPE along with other Air Canada unions filed objections to this application.
We were advised late last month that both Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge’s waiver applications were denied by the Minister of Labour. Per the Code requirements, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge posted the Notice of Group Termination in all of our crew rooms. As the waiver has been denied, the Employers are mandated to form a joint planning committee with your Union.
The joint planning committee is formed to develop an adjustment program to try to eliminate the necessity for the termination of employment, to minimize the impact of the termination of employment on the redundant employees and to assist those employees in obtaining other employment.
We will update you with additional information in the weeks ahead as we move through the joint committee process.
We have spent the past two days attempting to work with the Employer on a mitigation plan, that would include an SPLOA with weekly Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) payments. Furthermore, your Union asserted that all members facing layoff should receive the weekly CEWS payments.
Although we fully support targeted airline financial assistance from the federal government, we are quite frankly enraged that our Employer is refusing to access the current funding available to specifically help our members. We cannot understand why they choose not to participate in the CEWS, yet all other major airlines in Canada are making it work for their inactive workforce. WestJet, Swoop, Encore, Sunwing, and Air Transat have continued to make use of the CEWS program since the spring 2020 because they know it is the right thing to do for their Employees and their families.
Air Canada has consistently requested that our members write letters to the Federal Government to plead their case for financial assistance. You all have assisted your Employer in many ways and yet your Employer refuses to assist you in your time of need. It appears to us that our members are being used as pawns in a game of Tug-of-War with the government.
We have heard that CEWS is “very expensive” to the airlines. We have heard that maintaining benefits, pension and accruing vacation was too costly. Your Union requested many different forms of CEWS. We looked at all options with the Employer to get money in your pocket through CEWS.
Air Canada has continually stated that CEWS is a short-term solution. If this is anticipated to be a short-term mitigation, then why not offer a short-term CEWS leave?
Although the Company refused CEWS, they will be moving forward with the mitigation as outlined in the Collective Agreement. Please see below some general information and important dates:
The Company will be releasing its mitigation package later this evening or tomorrow morning. The selection process will be open until Monday, January 18, 2021 at 08:00 EST.
The Options available to members at Mainline and Rouge are as follows:
Resignation with C3 Travel and Benefits Programs
3-month Special Leaves of Absence (February 2021 to April 2021 inclusive)
3-month Reduced Block Program (February 2021 to April 2021 inclusive)
All members are eligible to bid on the Mitigation Programs; however Special Leaves of Absences and Reduced Block Programs will be awarded by seniority to those who would otherwise not be placed on Layoff Status. Meaning, you cannot hold an SPLOA or RBP program if you are not able to hold flying for February 2021. Those members on COVID Leaves may bid for a mitigation SPLOA.
Once the mitigation program is complete, those members deemed surplus will receive layoff notices by January 20, 2021 at 23:00 EST. It is our understanding that the planned flying will be built around the remaining members’ home bases. This includes all four Mainline bases and both Rouge bases.
Recalls from layoff status are done in order of master seniority regardless of originating airline as per Article 17.16 of the Collective Agreement. Recall rights for both Mainline and Rouge are for five (5) years from the date of layoff.
Once again, our members continue to bear the brunt of the continued setbacks that the airline industry is facing. These upcoming layoffs are a direct result of the federal government’s lack of action to support the industry. The very least our employer could do is take part in the programs being offered to support our members.
Aviation workers held rallies earlier today in Toronto, at Pearson International Airport, and in Montreal, at Minister of Transport – Marc Garneau’s office, to urge the federal government to create a national aviation recovery strategy.
Members of your ACCEX stood together in solidarity with their fellow Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge flight attendants, as well as with members of Unifor and other unions representing workers in the airline sector.
We want to thank all of the members that took part in these rallies. As well we extend our thanks to Unifor for organizing these rallies.
Rallies are also being planned for the west coast in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information.
Today CUPE National issued the following Press Release regarding the upcoming rallies on Friday in Toronto and Montreal:
CUPE Flight Attendants Will Take to the Streets in Montreal and Toronto to Demand Support for Jobs, Industry
Flight attendants will join forces with other airline workers this Friday in Toronto and Montreal to send a unified message to the federal government: it’s time to support workers in the airline industry whose livelihoods have been shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of Canada’s flight attendant union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), will stand together in solidarity with members of Unifor and other unions representing workers in the airline sector to distribute leaflets and demand support from the federal government.
“We need action from the federal government yesterday,” says Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Airline Division. “Every day that passes means more jobs lost and more lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance.”
CUPE, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine airlines across Canada, has called on the federal government to implement pre-boarding COVID-19 rapid tests at airports to make flying safer. CUPE also says any direct government support to airlines should come with a public stake in the companies.
Friday, October 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Where: TORONTO: Pearson International Airport Terminal 1
– Employees who are working are able to parking in the terminal parking garage as per normal.
– For those who are currently laid off or are on a leave, the GTAA has made the following arrangements to provide complimentary parking – Rally members and supporters will enter the T1 parking facility on Level 4 and obtain a parking voucher from the parking kiosk. Complimentary facility parking will be valid only between 0900 and 1201 hours. Vehicles must park on Level 4 at the South end of the facility. This voucher initially obtained will be required when leaving the facility. The participants will enter the Terminal facility via the South Bridge and proceed as directed.
MONTREAL: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau Constituency Office, 4060 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Westmount QC
– Montreal based members, as per COVID-19 “red zone” regulations you must maintain physical distancing and wear a mask at all times while at the protest. There are high fines for non-compliance.