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

Canada’s flight attendants launch “12 Days of Unpaid Work” series to kick off busy holiday travel season

The union representing flight attendants across Canada has launched a “12 Days of Unpaid Work” series in advance of the busy holiday travel season, to highlight the myriad ways flight attendants are forced to work for free for major airlines.

You can view the series here.

“All we want for Christmas this year is pay for time worked,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 18,500 flight attendants at ten airlines in Canada. “Airline executives across Canada need to know that forcing overworked flight attendants to work unpaid for almost a full work-week every month is a one-way ticket to the naughty list.”

The series is part of CUPE’s Airline Division’s Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign, a joint effort of ten airline groups to combat the abuse of unpaid work in the airline sector which sees the average flight attendant work 35 hours per month unpaid.

As a general rule, flight attendants are only compensated while the aircraft is in motion – which means countless duties ranging from pre-flight safety checks to boarding, to deplaning, to customs and security are not paid. Learn more at

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Base Transfers at Rouge

Your union has heard from members at Air Canada Rouge expressing concerns about being denied base transfers during their probationary period. The union sees this as a seniority violation as the company is continuously hiring to both bases at Air Canada Rouge, so we have filed a Policy Grievance, click HERE to view.

Our Air Canada Rouge members do not have language like we do at Air Canada Mainline that clearly defines the policy on base transfers. We have maintained Seniority must remain the guiding principle. The Company should not be hiring off the street to fill roles in a base where we have a list of members wanting to go to, and have already moved away from home to start their career at Rouge.

The Company is clearly struggling to maintain Bilingual candidates at their YTO – Toronto base, and the Union has been clear that the entry level wage at Air Canada Rouge is a large part of the problem, and one we are continually willing to meet to discuss.

Please reach out to your local if you have requested a base transfer and been denied.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

CUPE’s Airline Division stands with Air Transat flight attendants

The union representing 18,500 flight attendants across Canada says the 2,100 CUPE members at Air Transat have the full support and solidarity of CUPE’s Airline Division, after CUPE’s Air Transat Component announced their membership had given the union a 99.8% vote in support of strike action if a fair deal cannot be reached by January 3, 2024.

“Your fight is our fight too, and we’ll stand with you every step the way until you get a fair deal,” said Division President Wesley Lesosky.

While the airline industry has rebounded from the devastation of the pandemic, flight attendants at Air Transat and other airlines are being crushed by stagnant wages and the skyrocketing cost of living.

“The starting salary for a flight attendant at Air Transat is $26,000 a year; how can these workers look after themselves and their loved ones on that kind of income in major cities like Toronto and Montreal?” asked Lesosky. “The short answer is: they can’t, and it’s only made worse by the fact that airlines like Air Transat don’t pay flight attendants for an average of 35 hours every month while they carry out vital duties like boarding and pre-flight safety checks.”

“Our members are united and excited to make major gains in our next agreement,” said Dominic Levasseur, President of the Air Transat Component of CUPE. “With the support of our whole Airline Division behind us, we are so much stronger.”

CUPE represents 18,500 flight attendants at ten airlines across Canada, including Air Canada, Air Transat, Calm Air, Canadian North, Flair Airlines, PAL Airlines, Pascan Aviation, Pivot Airlines, Sunwing, and WestJet. Visit to learn more about CUPE’s Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Trudeau Government Sides With Big Airlines, Turns Blind Eye to Unpaid Work: CUPE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The federal government says it will turn a blind eye to the issue of unpaid work in the airline sector, where flight attendants work an average of 35 hours unpaid every month, according to a petition response tabled in the House of Commons on Friday by Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan.

The petition, submitted by CUPE Airline Division President Wesley Lesosky and signed by over 17,000 Canadians, called on the federal government to close loopholes that allow big airlines to force flight attendants to perform hours of unpaid work every day. O’Regan’s office issued its official response to the petition on November 3, declaring it would be keeping those loopholes open.

“These are not the words of a minister who cares about workers being exploited by billion-dollar companies,” said Lesosky. “But now we know whose side Minister O’Regan and Prime Minister Trudeau are really on.”

CUPE’s Airline Division launched the Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign in April 2023 to draw attention to the issue of mandatory unpaid work within the airline industry, and filed the petition to the House of Commons as part of its campaign.

Lesosky thanked and acknowledged the thousands of CUPE members and citizens across Canada who signed the petition. “Our 18,500 members are engaged and determined, and we will not accept this reality going forward. We never expected this to be an easy fight, but we know this is just the first of many steps, and we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re going to end this abusive practice with or without the federal government’s help.”

CUPE will be filing complaints through the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). Lesosky also acknowledged that the federal government’s refusal to act and end this injustice only increases the possibility of job action during future rounds of bargaining.

“Make no mistake: the federal government has chosen its side and failed to address this critical issue, leaving the door open to potential job action in the future which may have a negative impact on the public,” said Lesosky. “We hope the government takes the same hands-off approach in the future if this comes to pass during negotiations at the bargaining table.”

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Sick Leave Policy Grievances Update – Will be forwarded to Arbitration

We wanted to update you on the status of the 3 policy grievances filed challenging the recent sick leave policy changes made by Air Canada.

For more details, please click on the following links to see our previous bulletins:
June 7, 2023 bulletin
June 12, 2023 bulletin

Yesterday, on October 18, 2023, the 3 policy grievances were presented at mediation however we were unable to reach any resolution. As a result, the Union will now be forwarding all 3 grievances to arbitration. We will keep you updated on the date once it is confirmed.

In the meantime, we wish to remind you of the following when you are sick and must book off:

  1. Please ensure to book off more than 4 hours prior to departure.
  2. If Air Canada requests a note from a medical practitioner, you have the option of utilizing the Maple app for a virtual appointment as you see fit.
  3. When booking back on, please make sure to do so when you are fit to return to work.
  4. Please note that as per company policy a Continuous Absence is an absence in which an employee books off – books on, followed by another book off without a scheduled duty in between. If you want to make sure that the absence is not treated as continuous, you will need to advise them that the 2 book offs were for different or separate illnesses. It may be your preference to ensure that your absences are properly represented. If your book off was for the same illness there is no need to advise them.

As always, if you are unsure of your rights, please contact your local union office for assistance

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE