Bargaining Update

Your Bargaining Committee met last week with Air Canada and Arbitrator Vince Ready as a part of the mediation process outlined in the MOA in our Collective Agreement found HERE.  We felt that progress was being made and were fully prepared with our proposals and intentions to further the interests of the membership.

Our members have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and have been bearing the weight of this unprecedented roller coaster ride of uncertainty filled with disruptive passengers, service changes, and countless challenges. We felt strongly that this was an opportunity to work with Air Canada to find common ground and this could include additional gains for the membership. An agreement has not been reached however the parties will continue to communicate in an ongoing effort to reach one.

Should an agreement not be possible the next step of the re-opener process is to move forward to interest-based arbitration. This arbitration will take place under the strict confines of the 10-year framework MOA which limits which types of proposals can move forward to arbitration. In addition, the arbitrator cannot issue an award that would increase the total cost to Air Canada Mainline or Air Canada Rouge, except for certain items at Air Canada Rouge which could result in cost increases.

Despite these new challenges we remain steadfast, determined, and fully committed to this process. Your committee is working together as a harmonious and supportive group, and we feel that this cohesion is unprecedented.  Our promise is that we will not rest until we are assured that we have shown strength and demanded mutual respect through this process. As soon as we have a clear update on timelines for next steps, we will provide more information.

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX

Bargaining Reopener Resumption

As you may recall just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union was set to commence the mediation stage of our 2019 Reopener as outlined in the 10-year Collective Agreement MOA.  This process was triggered as a result of the parties’ inability to reach a tentative agreement.  There was a (90) day period of direct bargaining with Air Canada as is required but no agreement was forthcoming and therefore mediation was necessary. The Union and the Company both agreed at that time to postpone the mediation stage, so that we could deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on our membership.

We are now in the process of resuming the mediation stage and will be meeting with Arbitrator Vince Ready next week for some preliminary discussions to see where the parties are at. We have also secured dates for mediation the week of November 7th and will book more dates as required. If the parties are unable to reach a mediated tentative agreement, then either party may refer a maximum of 10 items in dispute to interest arbitration.

We also wish to remind members that if interest arbitration takes place, there is a requirement for cost neutrality for Air Canada Mainline and Air Canada Rouge, except for certain items which could result in an increase in cost for Air Canada Rouge.  Please review the MOA which can be found in the front pages of the Collective Agreement, or by clicking HERE, for more information on the reopener process and limitation.

Your Bargaining Committee is fully committed to achieve some gains despite the restrictions of the language. We will update the membership again following our first week of mediation in November.

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX

Air Canada’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy

Dear Members,

As you’re likely aware by now, Air Canada released its mandatary vaccination policy on Wednesday which covers our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The policy was released following the federal government’s announcement on August 13, 2021 that COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for federal employees and those working in federally regulated industries, including the aviation sector, no later than the end of October 2021.   In addition, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the vaccination requirement would also extend to travelers.

The Union is aware that mandatory vaccination policies represent a variety of competing interest, rules, and sensitives.  However, we are in agreement with the medical and scientific communities that vaccines are critical to providing a safe work environment for our membership and promote the continuing recovery of our industry.   We continue to encourage all of our members to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their families.

The Union had some concerns with the timelines applicable to cabin crew in Air Canada’s policies as the government mandate is not planned to come into force until October 31, 2021. However, upon further discussion with Air Canada it is clear that those not vaccinated with a first dose by September 8, 2021 will not be subject to flight removal until the start of the November 2021 block month.

Air Canada’s policy states that “failure to be fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021 will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination”. The policy acknowledges the duty to accommodate under medical and religious grounds which we are pleased to see. We expect that those who claim either exemption will have to provide pre-existing evidence that they meet these criteria.

The Union will challenge any discipline issued to a member who elects not to comply with the vaccination policy as we believe alternative accommodations should be made. As always, the grievance procedure will be followed for any discipline issued to our members.

We had previously provided the membership with a legal opinion that we obtained with the Jazz Flight Attendant Union, CFAU. This was done in order to ensure that you have the necessary information to make your choice as to whether or not to comply with the mandatory vaccination requirement as it could have consequences to your ongoing employment. You can click HERE to review again.

Now that we have Air Canada’s policy on COVID Vaccines, your Union is once again having Legal Counsel and CUPE National review the terms and will file a grievance where the policy is found to be unreasonable or discriminatory.  We have received feedback from many members, both for and against the vaccine and want to once again assure you all, that we are looking at all angles and avenues to ensure that each member is respected and represented though this process.

As always, we will continue to provide updates to the membership as we move closer to the October 30, 2021 deadline.

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX

Continued Staffing Shortage

Without Prejudice

Dear Members,

As you may be aware by now, the Employer issued a Globe Message yesterday evening advising that they were providing a VE premium of 100%, allowing members to exceed 100 hours, and allowing members to waive days off. The shock and dismay we are hearing from members is shared at our level as well.

Here is a breakdown of events:
• The employer reached out on Wednesday evening to attempt to reach an agreement to allow the waiving of the VE cap, GDO removals for reserves, and minimum days off to go to 0.
• The Union immediately looked into this with a counter proposal that included their request with limitations and  a permanent short crewing premium for ALL flights. The current short crewing premium only applies to B14, LOU 18 and LOU22 flights, so this was to include ALL B5 flights, overseas and domestic, wide-body and narrow-body. Our view was that this would actually be no cost proposal to the Employer if they maintained adequate staffing going forward. We could not entertain a short-term fix, to what we are seeing as a long-term issue.
• The Employer said No.

Bottom line, yesterday evening the Company moved ahead with their proposal and willfully violated our Collective Agreement.

The Union wants to remind you of the following:
• The Employer did not maintain members on the CEWS program. The intent of this program was to keep employees connected to their employer and ready to return to work when business activities resumed.
• We have a grievance out on Members that were denied the right to seek outside employment while on layoff, the company wanted you to stay on EI instead or not work in the industry that you are qualified in.
• We have many members denied Educational Leaves.
• Do we need to remind you of the COVID-19 Leave fiasco and the hoops we had to jump through to ensure the code was being followed?

Further, the COVID Tracing Process, something in place for your safety, is completely at the brink of collapse. Yesterday we notified the employer of 26 new flights, as well as reminded them of the 111 outstanding flights.  If Safety First is our priority, how is it that this process is so far behind?  Our members have worked tirelessly through this pandemic, and yet the Company is more focused on beer and wine in economy than COVID being passed to our Cabin Crew.

The Union completely understands the confusion on this and wants to ensure you are well aware that this is VOLUNTARY, the company CANNOT fly you into GDO’s on reserve intentionally, they CANNOT draft you when you are maxed out, and CANNOT waive your days off, these are your contractual rights.

We have filed policy grievance CHQ-21-18 – Violation of Articles 2 and Block Rules (Voluntary Extension Process). Please click HERE for a copy of the grievance form. We continue to review other options to address the continued staffing shortage.

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX

Interim Component Vice President

We wanted to advise that Component Vice-President Theresa Mitchell has gone on a temporary medical leave. As such in consultation with CUPE National, we have selected Carolyn Bugnon, the Vancouver Local 4094 President to replace her as the interim Component Vice-President. In addition, Local 4094 Vice President Alison Kjertinge will be the acting President while Carolyn is absent from the Local.

We wish Theresa a speedy recovery and appreciate Carolyn stepping forward!

In solidarity,

Your ACCEX