Air Canada pandemic bonus scheme is shameless, morally bankrupt: CUPE

The following press release was issued yesterday:

Air Canada pandemic bonus scheme is shameless, morally bankrupt: CUPE

The union representing flight attendants at Air Canada says the company’s decision to pay out lavish executive bonuses while lobbying for a bailout and laying off tens of thousands of workers is shameless and morally bankrupt.

“Paying out millions in executive bonuses while they kick their workers to the curb and ask the taxpayer to bail them out isn’t just wrong, it’s morally bankrupt,” said Mark Hancock, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “This company has been taking the federal government for a ride and it’s our members and the Canadian public who are paying the price. It’s long past time for Justin Trudeau to get a grip on this situation.”

It was revealed Monday that Air Canada’s top executives and managers had received $10 million of COVID-19-specific bonuses and special share purchase options in 2020, even as the company laid off tens of thousands of workers, denied them access to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and then lobbied the federal government successfully for a $5.9 billion aid package.

“This has been a long and difficult year for our members, but this truly feels like we’re being kicked when we’re already down,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE. “Our employer turned their back on us, they refused to give us the lifeline the government offered through CEWS, and then they lined their own pockets. It’s just shameless. What makes it even worse is the federal government has just sat there and let it all happen.”

CUPE represents approximately 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, the vast majority of whom have been laid off since the pandemic grounded most flights in March 2020.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

On International Flight Attendant Day, CUPE flight attendants ask: what is the Trudeau government’s plan to safely reopen the aviation sector?

The following press release was issued today:

On International Flight Attendant Day, CUPE flight attendants ask: what is the Trudeau government’s plan to safely reopen the aviation sector?

VANCOUVER – On International Flight Attendant Day, Canada’s flight attendant union is calling on the federal government to come forward with a plan to safely reopen the industry, which has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Workers deserve to hear how and when the Trudeau government will help our battered industry rebound,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine Canadian airlines. The majority of CUPE’s members in the airline industry have been laid off since the pandemic grounded most flights in March 2020.

For its part, CUPE believes COVID-19 safety protocols, including provision of PPE, adherence to ventilation controls, and mandatory masking for passengers and crew should continue until all cabin crew have had the opportunity to be fully immunized, and until senior public health officials declare the pandemic is over.

CUPE continues to support pre-boarding rapid testing as one of the best ways to create a safe cabin environment for crew and passengers. However, research and real-world evidence clearly show that pre-boarding temperature screening is ineffective at detecting COVID-19 positive cases, and should be abandoned.

“We acknowledge the rules and public health concerns vary from province to province,” added Lesosky. “That’s why we’re calling on the federal government to show leadership and begin charting a path alongside other levels of government, in order to begin safely reconnecting our communities and bringing back good jobs in this industry.”

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

CHQ-21-05 – Mixing of Extensions and Improper Designation of a Pairing (Articles L22, L60.04)

The Union has filed a policy grievance about Air Canada’s improper designation of extension pairings (click HERE to view). Although the Collective Agreement, including Article L60.04.05, requires Air Canada to designate each pairing based on the longest leg within that pairing, Air Canada has recently started mixing extension pairing rules within a single pairing.

For example, if the longest flight leg within a pairing falls under LOU 22A, the entire pairing should be designated as an LOU 22A pairing. Therefore, all rules under LOU 22A should apply to all flight legs within that pairing (crew rest, crew complement, duty period limitations, etc.).

For the May 2021 block month, however, the Union discovered that ICN pairings in YVR were built with different rules on each of the flight legs instead of applying the LOU 18 rules (the longest leg within that pairing) on the entire pairing.  For example, pairings involving flight 28 (ICN-YYZ, L18) were combined with flights ac25 (YVR-ICN) and ac119/127 (YYZ-YVR) and the crew complement on flights ac25 and ac119/127 was based on the lower B5 crew complement instead of the required LOU 18 crew complement.

In this grievance, the Union is seeking to require Air Canada to comply with its obligations regarding the creation and designation of pairings.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Coronavirus Update 37

Vaccination campaigns are set to open to the masses across the country, and the company is launching its clinics in Montreal and Toronto over the next couple of weeks. The Union encourages its members to make an informed choice, and to understand their rights when it comes to time off to get the jab.

COVID-19 vaccine webinar:
For those who might be undecided, we wish to share a recording from a recent webinar hosted by PreventionLink, an Ontario-based safety organization, and presented by Andréane Chénier, one of CUPE National’s health and safety servicing reps. She holds a masters in immunology, a doctorate in biomolecular sciences and previously worked in the field of HIV, cancer and immunology research.

The webinar provides a full overview of viruses, the immune system and how vaccines work. It also addresses some of the most common questions and concerns specifically related to COVID-19 vaccines.

NOTE: The webinar was recorded last month, and viewers will notice that information related to the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines and the very rare vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is slightly out of date.

The webinar can be accessed HERE.

CUPE COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet:
CUPE’s COVID-19 vaccination fact sheet is also a good source of information and can be accessed HERE.

Leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine:
Employees in federally regulated workplaces can take personal leave, provided under Part III of the Canada Labour Code (the Code), in order to get vaccinated. The Code provides that employee is entitled to and shall be granted 5 days of personal leave, in a calendar year, in order to:

  • treat an injury or illness;
  • take care of health obligations for any member of your family or care for them;
  • take care of obligations related to the education of any family member under age 18;
  • manage any urgent situation that concerns you or a family member; and
  • attend your citizenship ceremony under the Citizenship Act.

The vaccination appointment would fall undertaking care of health obligations for themselves and/or managing urgent situation concerning themselves – as noted above.

Please note that an employee who has completed three consecutive months of continuous employment with the employer is entitled to the first three days of personal leave with pay at employee’s regular rate of wages for their normal hours of work.

Information on how to access this leave can be found by visiting:

HRConnex > Forms & Reference Documents > HR Policies and Programs > HR Policy – Personal Leaves

In Solidarity,

Coronavirus Update 36

The Union has been made aware of instances where members were told that they could not be served at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic or provider due to travel within the past 14 days.

If you have been vaccinated or attempted to get vaccinated, please click on the link below and respond to some questions regarding your experience:

The Union has approached the company as well as Transport Canada who both advise that specific details are crucial in order to best take steps to address potential problems.

In Solidarity,