days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

LOU 61 – A330/A321XLR Crew Rest Seats – April 2024 Block Month

(This applies to AC Mainline only)

For the block month of April 2024, the following flights fall under LOU 61 and are scheduled for A330 aircraft. They will have 2 (two) dedicated crew rest seats:

– AC073 CMN-YUL
– AC811 LIS-YYZ
– AC813 LIS-YUL
– AC822 YUL-BCN
– AC823 BCN-YUL
– AC833 BRU-YUL
– AC845 FRA-YUL
– AC855 LHR-YYZ
– AC871 CDG-YUL
– AC873 CDG-YYZ
– AC877 LYS-YUL
– AC883 CDG-YUL
– AC885 GVA-YUL
– AC894 YUL-MXP
– AC895 MXP-YUL 

What if these flights operate on B777/787 aircraft?
LOU 61 is specific to the A330/A321XLR aircraft, and not applicable to the B777/787. The B777/787 has crew bunks that may be used for crew rest/break purposes.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Grievance Committee

Policy Grievance Filed on Denial of Drug Coverage (Requirement to use Generic Drugs/Medicines)

The Union just filed a policy grievance (click HERE) challenging Air Canada’s denial to cover certain medically necessary drugs/medicines by only reimbursing the cost of generic drugs/medicines even when a physician indicates “no substitutions” on the prescription.

We are also challenging Air Canada’s requirement that members undergo the special authorization process when your doctor prescribes you a drug/medicine for which a generic alternative exists.

The Collective Agreement clearly states that Air Canada is to pay 100% of our drugs and medicines yet it is our belief that Air Canada continues to find ways to place hindrances that reduce our benefits. They then save money that subsequently goes directly or indirectly into the pockets of their executives and shareholders.

If you have any examples of these violations that can support our policy grievance, we ask that you contact your Local Office and send them all the required information so that an individual grievance can be filed on your behalf and attached to our policy grievance.

June 2023 – Grievance Progress Update – Mainline and Rouge Policy Grievances

This bulletin is a continuation of our last bulletin issued on December 9, 2022, which can be viewed by clicking HERE.

The Component Grievance Committee is involved in the work behind the scenes, and we hope our latest bulletin provides you with important updates on cases that matter to you.

As of June 19, 2023, the number of grievances filed in 2023 on behalf of those who have been Suspended Pending Discharge / Terminated at Mainline is 37, and at Rouge is 32.

MAINLINE POLICY GRIEVANCES

CHQ-18-55 – Bilingual Coverage Requirements
Air Canada is blocking and assigning bilingual coverage above the maximum permitted under L2.02.02 and L2.02.03. The matter was referred to arbitration, however the parties agreed to settle the matter on an interim basis. Please click HERE to view the settlement.  After the test trial, Air Canada did not agree to use the test pairings and process in the settlement, and the matter was returned to the arbitrator on February 7 & 8, 2023 for a final determination. Unfortunately, the grievance was dismissed. The arbitrator accepted the company’s interpretation that LOU 2 applied maxima to pairings, not flights as the union argued. Please click HERE to see the final arbitration award.

CHQ-19-25 – Denial of Post-Retirement Benefits
Air Canada is no longer providing post-retirement benefits for employees hired after April 30, 2014, and the matter was scheduled to be heard at arbitration on June 13, 2023.

Since 1993, Air Canada has provided its retirees with both basic and supplemental health, dental and life insurance coverage. In the summer of 2014, it announced that it intended to cease doing so and that it would halt any such coverage for employees hired after May 1, 2014. CUPE has filed grievances to challenge this decision and has been engaged in persistent litigation on this issue since the decision was made.

The decision to deny access to retiree benefits was especially heinous in light of the fact that, in it’s annual year-end press release on February 11, 2015, the President of Air Canada, Calvin Rovinescu, told the press that 2014 represented Air Canada’s best financial performance up to that point. It was particularly shocking to see Air Canada revoke important health benefits from retirees in its most profitable year.

CUPE has remained committed to fighting for our retirees’ rights to health benefits and has engaged in active litigation with respect to these benefits. Air Canada’s defence has been that the retiree benefits exist separate from the Collective Agreement and therefore their revocation was within Air Canada’s rights. Our position has been that the retiree benefits are an extension of the health plan which Air Canada is required to provide under the Collective Agreement.

As is often the case during litigation, new documents and other evidence have come to light regarding the discussions in the 1990s which led to the creation of Air Canada’s retiree benefits. Given the content of some of this evidence CUPE is unable to challenge the loss of retiree benefits through the grievance process and has been forced to withdraw its litigation. This is not the end of this issue. CUPE fully intends to raise this issue in the context of collective bargaining and to make all efforts in the circumstances to restore these important benefits.

CHQ-21-11 (POLICY) – Vacation Pay Credits while on Off-Duty Status
Air Canada is recuperating pay credits or not providing pay credits for vacation time accrued while cabin crew members were on Off-Duty Status as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Air Canada placed a large percentage of CUPE members on Off-Duty Status between April 2, 2020, and June 7, 2020, subsequently some members received reduced wage payments through the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or applied for the Canadian Emergency Recovery Benefit (CERB). The grievance was originally scheduled to be arbitrated on May 31, 2023, however due to unforeseen circumstances, was cancelled and will be rescheduled to a date in the future. As soon as a date is confirmed, it will be communicated.

CHQ-22-13 (POLICY) – In-charge (SD) Classification – Application of Wage Scale (Article 5.06.01)
Air Canada is not recognizing service time at Rouge for employees who have transferred to Mainline and have moved into the In-Charge (SD) Classification, for pay purposes on the In-charge (SD) wage scale. This case will be arbitrated on May 31, 2024.

CHQ-22-19 (POLICY) – Recovery of Overpayments (CLC, section 254.1)
Air Canada has been inappropriately clawing back overpayments in a manner that includes and is not limited to the following:  i.)  before advising members in writing that an overpayment was made, ii.) by not providing an explanation, relevant calculations, and breakdown, and iii.) clawing back wages at a rate higher than what the wages were initially paid at.  This grievance was not resolved at mediation however the parties have agreed to attempt mediation again on June 21, 2023.

CHQ-22-20 (POLICY) – Reserve Airport Standby, More Than Twice (B8.20.02)
Air Canada violated Article B8.20.02 by assigning reserves to report for airport standby more than twice in a block month when other crew members at that base still had not been assigned to report for airport standby two (2) times in that month.

As you are aware, there has been a long standing dispute between the Company and the Union regarding what counts towards the two (2) standby limit found in Article B8.20.02.

The matter proceeded to arbitration on May 24, 2023.  Although the outcome is not what we hoped for, we are happy that we now have clarity on how the Collective Agreement is to be interpreted.  In a nutshell, airport standby counts towards the limit of two (2) only when that is what you are assigned at the outsetIf you are already at the airport because you are assigned to operate a pairing and are then placed on airport standby because you are no longer required for that pairing, (i.e., cancellation) that airport standby does NOT count towards the two (2) airport standby limit.  (Click HERE to see full award)

CHQ-22-44 (POLICY) – Last Sold Seats, LOU 27
The Company is failing to ensure that a certain bank of economy seats are held as “last sold” for the purpose of crew rest on all aircraft.  Air Canada is not filling all other Y (economy class) seats prior to making the last sold seats available to revenue or contingent passengers.  This grievance was not resolved at mediation and has been appealed to arbitration. As soon as a date is confirmed, it will be communicated.

CHQ-22-48 (POLICY) – Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Air Canada is failing to pay employees wage increases following cost of living increases.  This grievance was heard at arbitration on May 30, 2023 and as soon as the arbitrator issues his award, it will be communicated.

CHQ-22-73 (POLICY) – Violation of Article 2.04.05.01 (Narrowbody Aircraft operated at Air Canada Rouge)
The Company is operating more than 30 narrowbody aircraft at Air Canada Rouge. This grievance proceeded to mediation and the parties resolved grievance CHQ-22-73 with a settlement in the form of a new Letter of Understanding (LOU) 61.

This LOU resolves all issues relating to CHQ-22-73 and will be incorporated into the Collective Agreement at a later date. This LOU will provide for dedicated crew seats on the Airbus A330 (effective with the June 2023 block month) & the Airbus A321 XLR aircraft (once it commences operating) that don’t have crew bunks. This LOU will apply similarly to LOU 51 which provided for dedicated crew seats on the Boeing 767.  The terms of LOU 61 are as follows:

“On all A330 and A321XLR non-crew bunk equipped aircraft operating flights which have a scheduled block to block flight time of greater than 7:30 hours but less than 11:30 hours, the Company will dedicate a bank of economy class seats for crew rest purposes. The location of these seats will be determined by the Company.

Cabin Personnel may sleep in the bank of dedicated economy class seats for a maximum of one (1) hour per crew member. The use of these seats to sleep shall not in any way interfere with cabin service.

No more than two (2) Cabin Personnel may sleep at any one time. The Company shall use best efforts to install a curtain for privacy which, if installed, must be used by Cabin Personnel when the seats are in use. Signs or makeshift curtains are not permitted.

Letters of Understanding 27 and 28 shall not apply when dedicated crew rest seats have been provided in accordance with the foregoing.”

This settlement is the result of discussions between the parties in which the Union asserted their continued focus on working conditions and rest for crew members.

Grievance CHQ-22-73 was related to the number of narrow-body aircraft operated at Air Canada Rouge. The Union assessed this grievance internally and with legal counsel. We also evaluated what was first negotiated relating to scope language. As such the Union was able to provide Air Canada clarity that so long as the cap of 50 aircraft maximum is maintained that the Union will not dispute changes to the number of narrowbody aircraft operated at Rouge.  The scope provisions provide for a maximum of 25 widebody aircraft at Rouge, which is the Union’s main concern with scope protection. It is the widebody that we focused on and so long as they do not increase that or the maximum of 50 aircraft, we were able to agree to this settlement.

There was no change to the scope language, only clarity afforded to both sides, ensuring future growth at Air Canada Rouge will follow the current scope language.

CHQ-22-79 (POLICY) – Violation of Article 22.02, Supplemental Health Insurance Plan II (Special Authorization Process)
Air Canada’s “Special Authorization Process”, used by its benefit claims administrator, constitutes a denial of Members’ negotiated rights under the Collective Agreement.  This grievance will be mediated in the near future.

CHQ-23-12 (POLICY) – Violation of Article L59.07 (Service accumulated under article 17.07 not being counted towards flow through mainline wage scale progression)
Air Canada is failing to recognize the months or years of service that Rouge crew accumulated at Mainline following their layoff at Rouge, for the purposes of pay progression on the Mainline pay scale after they have flown through from Rouge to Mainline.  This grievance was denied at level 2 and will be mediated in the near future.

CHQ-23-33 (POLICY) – Article 13.08 – Disclosure of Documentation During Grievance Process
Air Canada is failing to provide the Union with copies of all documents (including photo, video, and audio documentation) relative to the grievance upon request. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

CHQ-23-34 (POLICY) – Article 14.02.01 – Disclosure of Documentation During Interviews
Air Canada is failing to provide a copy of all documentation (including photo, video, and audio documentation) relating to the alleged misdemeanour(s) to the Union and the employee during the interview procedure. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

CHQ-23-38 (POLICY)- Sick Leave Substantiation Requests – Five (5) days or more
Air Canada’s request for medical substantiation from cabin personnel for book offs of five (5) days or more is a blanket request which makes the request mandatory for all members despite their individual attendance record, contrary to Arbitrator’s Teplitsky’s February 12, 2007 award, Arbitrator Kaplan’s August 16, 2010 award, as well as CHRA and any related articles, acts or statutes and all other pertinent sections of the Collective Agreement. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

CHQ-23-41 (POLICY) – Canada Labour Code Violation – Ten (10) Day Time Limit to Provide Medical Substantiation
Air Canada’s request for medical substantiation within 10 days of book on from cabin personnel is a violation of the Canada Labour Code which specifies a 15-day time limit from book on. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

CHQ-23-42 (POLICY) – Violation of Article 9 (Improper Calculation of Sick Leave When Requesting Sick Leave Medical Substantiation)
Air Canada is improperly calculating sick leave when making requests for sick leave medical substantiation. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

ROUGE POLICY GRIEVANCES

CHQ-Rouge-22-06 (POLICY) – Excessive Drafting
Air Canada has been excessively drafting crew members to levels not seen in the history of Rouge and the manner in which they are drafting is also contrary to past practice. This case will be arbitrated on August 26, 2024.

CHQ-Rouge-22-14 (POLICY) – Last Sold Seats, L55.31
The Company failed to ensure that a certain bank of economy seats are held as “last sold” for the purpose of crew rest on all aircraft.  Air Canada is not filling all other Y (economy class) seats prior to making the last sold seats available to revenue or contingent passengers. The Union is in the process of scheduling this case for arbitration.  As soon as a date is confirmed, it will be communicated.

CHQ-Rouge-22-16 (POLICY) – Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Air Canada failed to pay employees wage increases following cost of living increases.  The grievance was denied at the Quarterly Grievance Review and has been scheduled for arbitration on March 18, 2025, before Arbitrator Eli Gedalof.

CHQ-rouge-23-27 (POLICY) – Discipline/Discharge – Disclosure of Documentation During Grievance Process
Air Canada is failing to provide the Union with copies of all documents (including photo, video, and audio documentation) relative to the grievance upon request. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

CHQ-rouge-23-28 (POLICY) – Article L55.20.03.01 – Disclosure of Documentation During Interviews
Air Canada is failing to provide a copy of all documentation (including photo, video, and audio documentation) relating to the alleged misdemeanour(s) to the Union and the employee during the interview procedure. This grievance will be presented at Level 2 in the near future.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Grievance Committee

Reserve Airport Standby and What Counts Towards the Limit – Update (CHQ-22-20)

Dear Mainline Reserve Members,

As you aware, there has been a long standing dispute between the Company and the Union regarding what counts towards the two (2) standby limit found in Article B8.20.02.

The matter proceeded to arbitration on May 24, 2023.  Although the outcome is not what we hoped for, we are happy that we now have clarity on how the Collective Agreement is to be interpreted.  In a nutshell, airport standby counts towards the limit of two (2) only when that is what you are assigned at the outsetIf you are already at the airport because you are assigned to operate a pairing, and are then placed on airport standby because you are no longer required for that pairing, (i.e. cancellation) that airport standby does NOT count towards the two (2) airport standby limit. 

An excerpt from the arbitration award states as follows: (Click HERE to see full award)
“The collective agreement is clear: there is a limitation on being required to report to duty for standby at the airport. Absent the trigger, Air Canada cannot require Reserve Blockholders to report to the airport to go on standby more than twice in a month. The reason for this restriction is obvious. When required to report to the airport, the Reserve Blockholder must actually go to the airport – that is what report to the airport means – to leave where they were, attend at the airport in uniform, with crew baggage ready, etc., and be on standby to wait for assignment. This is a completely different situation than a Reserve Blockholder at the airport who has their flight cancelled and is placed on standby. One cannot be required to report to the airport when one is already at the airport (which appears to have been the case with the individual grievors).”

Collective Agreement Language
B8.20 AIRPORT STANDBY: A Reserve Blockholder may be required to report to the airport to remain on standby for possible flight assignment. The duty period, for limitation purposes, will begin at the required reporting time. If a flight is operated, the duty period will be applicable for pay purposes.
B8.20.01 Airport standby will be rotated among Reserve Blockholders to effect time balancing but will NOT be assigned to the same employee on more than two (2) consecutive days.
B8.20.02 An employee will not be required to report for airport standby more than twice in any block month unless all other reserve at that Base have in that month been required to report for airport standby twice.
B8.20.03 Airport standby will be for a maximum of four (4) consecutive hours. Assignment may be made to a flight departing within or after the four (4) hour period. If no assignment is made s/he will be released for a legal rest.
B8.20.04 If s/he does not operate a flight, an employee shall receive a credit of one half (½) of the actual time involved in the duty period with a minimum credit of four (4) hours. This credit will be applicable for both pay and limitations.

As a reminder to our reserves, Article B8.20.02 still specifies a limit of two (2) and you can only be assigned a third airport standby AFTER all other reserves (at your base in that block month) have been assigned airport standby twice. Ensure to ask scheduling if other reserves at your base have been assigned twice before they assign you to your third airport standby.

Please contact your Local Union Office immediately if you are assigned a third airport standby if other reserves have not been assigned twice, and the company has not removed it after it was brought to their attention.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Grievance Committee

Sick Leave Policies Update – Two (2) More Policy Grievances Filed

As a follow up to the bulletin we issued on June 7, 2023 regarding sick leave substantiation (CLICK HERE to view), we would like to advise you that the Union has filed two (2) more policy grievances on this matter.

CHQ-23-41, found HERE, is about the time limit the Canada Labour Code specifies regarding when employees need to provide a certificate (issued by a health care practitioner) to Air Canada to substantiate a book off.   The Canada Labour Code specifically states:

“You must provide one in writing if requested by your employer within 15 days of your return to work”.

Air Canada is asking that you provide the certificate within 10 days from book on (your return to work), which is a violation of the Canada Labour Code.

CHQ-23-42, found HERE, is about the way Air Canada is improperly calculating how many sick days you have used to support their new blanket policy of requesting notes for book offs of 5 days or more.  Air Canada is basing their request on how many calendar days you have booked off on. However our Collective Agreement clearly specifies the calculation that must be used, which is based on twenty-four hour periods or less starting from commencement of your next scheduled duty period, found in Article 9.

9.04.01 Sick Leave Charged – Where a Regular Blockholder reports unavailable for duty as a result of sickness, his/her sick leave credits shall be charged one (1) day for each period of twenty-four (24) hours or less, excluding guaranteed days off, calculated as follows:

Commencement: The commencement of the next scheduled duty period.
Termination: The actual time reported available for duty.

NOTE: An employee will be charged at least one (1) day of sick leave for each book off if the first flight in his/her cycle is missed and no other flight is operated on that day.

9.05.01 Sick Leave Charged – Where a Reserve Blockholder reports unavailable for duty as a result of sickness, his/her sick leave credits shall be charged one (1) day for each period of twenty-four (24) hours or less excluding guaranteed days off calculated as follows:

Commencement: The actual time s/he is unavailable for duty on a scheduled Reserve Duty Day.
Termination: The actual time reported available for duty.

Please reach out to your Local Office with your examples that will support our policy grievances.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE