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

Historic petition to end unpaid work for Flight Attendants lands in the House of Commons

An historic petition has landed in the House of Commons, calling on the Federal Government to fix loopholes that allow airlines to require Flight Attendants to work an average of 35 hours every month for free.

The petition was launched by CUPE’s Airline Division, and sponsored by NDP MP Taylor Bachrach, who serves as his party’s Transport Critic. The petition received over 17,000 signatures in just a month!

You can watch Taylor introducing the petition in the House of Commons here.

The Liberal government now has until November 5, 2023 to respond. Will they side with thousands of Flight Attendants at Canadian airlines, or will they side with the airline executives requiring Flight Attendants to work 35 hours every month for free?

Flight attendants and workers across Canada will be watching.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Probationary Performance Meetings – Overall Attendance

Earlier this week the Union was advised that Air Canada will be calling a large group of members in to discuss their “Overall Attendance”. We were shocked and dismayed to learn that the Company has called in over 40 probationary members at the Vancouver base. The Union believes the Company failed to adhere to the Collective Agreement and advise the alleged misdemeanor for these meetings and instead they grouped them all as “Overall Attendance”.

The Union reached out and advised that this gave the member no understanding of the “issue” and that the employer should be more specific to allow the member an opportunity to best recollect the alleged incident and be mentally prepared in the meeting. The Union was advised late last night that the letters were changed and once received, we noted they now stated “Overall Attendance (time frame – June 01st – September 10th)”.

The Company is well within their right to meet with their employees, but they should do it in a respectful, non-confrontational, and a more open and transparent process. There is nothing more alarming and concerning to any employee, especially one on probation, than to come to work one day and get a letter regarding a meeting with no information.

What is more concerning is the fact that some members had one book off during this period, and the only way the Union was able to figure out the “overall attendance” issue was to do the research themselves. The Company is calling the members in, they know why, what is the reason they cannot share this in advance to lesson the worry and angst the members are now feeling?

We have heard the company speak on more than one occasion about employee engagement. It seems counterproductive to their goal of employee engagement to be haranguing new employees. It is our opinion that an initiative such as this will only serve to lower the morale of all probationary employees. A culture of fear serves no employer in the long run and has zero benefit.

The Union is left wondering why this is necessary and why employee morale is yet again taking an unneeded hit with a poorly executed 7 days of nonstop performance meetings.

The Vancouver Local will have the full backing of the Executive Board and the Grievance Committee. We will review each performance meeting that takes place and will ensure grievances are filed on any and all violations found through this process.

Your UNION is behind each of you firmly, we will ensure you are well represented and if any discipline is issued through this process it will be challenged.

Based on the above, the Union has filed policy grievance CHQ-23-66, attached HERE.  We look forward to discussing this with the employer.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Update Regarding Calgary

We wanted to reach out to you all as there is a lot of misinformation and confusion still out there in regard to Calgary.

We have been in discussions with the Company on this issue since its announcement of the network changes that will affect the base’s flying.

We can confirm the following:

* There will be no layoffs and/or forced transfers as a result of this recent announcement.
* All provisions of LOU60 will apply, as Air Canada is no longer invoking Force Majeure.
* L60.02.03 clearly states there shall be no Air Canada Mainline base closures during the life of this LOU.
* The assignment and distribution of flying will continue to be based on operational and language requirements as per normal planning procedures.

Many have reached out on transferring to other bases, the Company advised the following:

Should YYC based crew who have less than 6 months service wish to be considered for a base transfer, they may add their names to the base transfer list, and we will review and award by seniority and availability/vacancies at the other bases, in accordance with the existing base transfer process. Currently, crew members can list themselves on the base transfer request list which is processed on a monthly basis. Version 1 – 08/31/23 Additional information can be found on the Portal under IFS > Crew Scheduling and Planning > Base Transfers. The next deadline to list for a base transfer is September 6, 2023, for November 23 block month.

Your Union is clearly unhappy with this announcement, and we completely understand the negative feeling this has for many.

As issues come up, we deal with them with the Company and have had open dialogue on this front since the beginning.  Please continue to reach out with any questions you have on this, we are here to address issues that come forward.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Kim Wentzell
President, Local 4095

Air Canada Profits Soar – While Air Canada Flight Attendants Forced to Work for Free

As we all heard last week, Air Canada’s quarterly profit was $838 million. This is in huge part due to the amazing service our members provide day in and day out. From greeting our passengers as they board, to assisting them with special needs in flight and to welcoming them to their destination, we are often the only true interaction they have.

On behalf of your Union, kudos for an excellent job in what you all do, time and time again!

We have been highlighting your struggles with the Company, both at Air Canada Mainline and at Air Canada Rouge, and we strongly ask that you support this initiative and wear your Union pin, with pride. The more members wearing pins, the stronger we will be. It will be a common theme and one that will engage conversation.

If you do not have a new pin, please stop by your Local Union Office for one. These are permitted on your uniform, at both Air Canada Mainline and at Air Canada Rouge.

Below is a press release we issued to the media today:

Air Canada Profits Soar – While Air Canada Flight Attendants Forced to Work for Free: CUPE

Business Wire
Published Aug 14, 2023

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The union representing 9,500 flight attendants at Air Canada says the company’s quarterly profit of $838 million shows it is more than capable of giving its flight attendants a raise to their poverty starting wages. It also shows the company is more than capable of ending its reliance on – and abuse of – unpaid work by flight attendants.

“The great news is our customers are back, and the planes are full. The bad news is the workers who keep this airline flying are getting crushed by inflation, while the airline still depends on hours of our free labour every month to keep the airline operating,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“Our members are highly-trained safety professionals, but our starting wages are so low that our members working fulltime still qualify for and depend on federal income supplements like the Canada Workers Benefit,” said Lesosky, noting the starting salary for a flight attendant at Air Canada Rouge is $26,487 in the first year.

Meanwhile, the company is not paying flight attendants for hours of critical work they perform every day, and the hours add up. A survey conducted by CUPE last winter found that the average flight attendant in Canada works unpaid for 35 hours every month because airlines like Air Canada only pay flight attendants while the plane is in motion.

“This means duties critical to safety and passenger well-being like assisting passengers during boarding and deplaning as well as pre-flight safety checks are not paid,” said Lesosky. “These huge profit margins reported are built on the backs of the airline not paying our members a fair wage – simple as that.”

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

House of Commons Petition Update

We wanted to update you on the recent petition we commenced in regard to the Unpaid work our members put in while working.  We have amassed 17,012 signatures, and the petition is now closed.

Each and every one of you should be extremely proud of this amazing accomplishment.  This is a solid signal to the Government that the Code needs to be followed, and we need to start being paid while at work.

As noted in the press release attached, once the House of Commons resumes sitting after the summer break, Mr. Bachrach will be able to formally table the petition in the House, after which the federal government will have 45 days to formally respond.

We look forward to this response, and as always, will keep you posted as we work through this process.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE