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.
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE
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and Janssen vaccines and the very rare vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is slightly out of date.
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
This is a COVID-19 catch-all bulletin. Should you have additional questions, please reach out to the Union by emailing email@example.com so that we can further assist, and/or provide guidance, on the matter.
PPE, safety measures and the third wave
It is also proven that by adhering to many different mitigation measures, the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 goes down.
Remember that the variants are up to 70% more contagious than the COVID-19 we became used to in the first and second waves. Some of us may have engaged in activities at work or at home that went against recommendations and not had any health effects. But that doesn’t mean this was safe, and with the variants, it is much more likely you will get sick if recommended precautions aren’t taken.
At this time, it is particularly important to physically distance whenever possible, and especially at times when masks aren’t being worn. This means:
No group events, including photographs dinners or meeting in crew lounges..
Wearing eye protection when in the aisle, and masks at all times – including crew rest unit. A mask should really be worn unless you are in your hotel room or eating. PPE isn’t comfortable – it is designed to be functional. We understand that it is tiring and aggravating to wear a mask for hours on end and encourage crew to procure a company-provided 3-layer cloth mask which may be more comfortable in settings off-aircraft where physical distancing can be assured. These are available at the crew centres.
Wearing all other available PPE – not just the required components. Remember that company policy is that you can request as many items as required for your flight assignment.
Continuing to practice good hand hygiene.
Adhering to local regulations and staying in the hotel room as much as possible.
As the third wave continues to peak, we are acutely aware that many members are extremely anxious about exposure to the virus. It is important not to panic about the risks and hazard of COVID-19. Much about COVID-19 cannot be controlled. We urge members to view their PPE, physical distancing and adhering to all other recommended practices as a way to take charge.
The reality is that if we all do everything that’s recommended, it will feel more normal, and we will all be safer. Even if you don’t personally agree with PPE or certain measures, your colleagues will greatly appreciate and benefit from your act of solidarity adhering to them while at work. At a time when we have all had it with COVID for one reason or another, let’s support each other.
The Right to Refuse Dangerous Work and “opting out” of flight assignments:
The Union included a piece in its Coronavirus Update #34 specifically about the process to follow if you do not feel safe operating to a particular destination and want to “opt out”. Please view it HERE.
You can always view the Union’s bulletin on the right to refuse dangerous work by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many members have reported that they don’t report mask compliance. The reasons are consistent and understandable:
Some feel it is impossible to file a disruptive/unruly passenger report for every instance.
Some feel bad filing a report when the passenger eventually complied and was otherwise not disruptive.
Some feel bad asking children to wear masks.
We wish to clarify:
For minor cases where you achieved compliance or that did not escalate, it is highly preferable to report all cases in one report than to not file a report at all. Your health and safety committees have discussed this, and even minor non-compliance is having a significant effect on crews and it is essential the company have cases documented.
Generally, only serious cases of non-compliance involving escalation to higher levels of interference are enforced by Transport Canada (TC). Mostly, this data is used by the company and TC to evaluate any difficulties you are facing onboard and adjust regulations and policies accordingly.
Current regulations exempt children 0-2 years from wearing a mask. A child between 2 and 5 years is exempt if they cannot tolerate a mask, although parents must have masks on hand. Anyone aged 6 and over must comply with masking regulations.
See ePub > COVID-19 Tile > Face Covering Guidelines for full details and guidance regarding masking policies for crew and customers.
Remember that in compliance with public health guidance, all masking policies remain in effect for crew and passengers regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not – NO EXCEPTIONS.
We have received many questions from members about vaccines. Please know that it is the Union’s position that it ought to be made available as a priority to cabin crew, but that getting it should remain the choice of each member.
The company released a vaccination policy as of the 22APR21. Very little notice was provided to the Union for comment, and it was issued with no notice at all. It is being reviewed and appropriate action will be taken if necessary, to protect the rights of the membership.
CUPE National Health and Safety has created a detailed fact sheet on vaccinations which can be viewed HERE.
Airflow on the ground
The company implemented a policy in December 2020 (Epub > Service and Flight Guidelines – Covid-19) that flight crew are to turn on the auxiliary power unit (APU) as soon as possible when they board and keep it on until they leave the aircraft. This ensures cabin airflow per the standards above, and that air is routed through the HEPA filter.
But what happens if the pilots arrive late, or leave the aircraft before everyone has deplaned?
Until the APU is started, cabin air is supplied via a ground air conditioning unit hooked up to the plane (yellow hose usually connected to the bridge). And the airflow rate may vary depending on the equipment at each airport and how well it functions, for which the company may have little or no control. And reduced airflow means that some of the benefits cited about aircraft ventilation systems may not apply during a time when passengers are most active, in the aisles, and when physical distancing is most difficult.
Recently members have told the Union they are noticing the APU air isn’t on until late in boarding, and often shut off early during deplaning. Clearly the solution would be to ensure boarding only occurs when pilots are onboard, and that the APU remain in operation until all passengers have deplaned. Despite this, we aren’t receiving actual reports.
It is crucial to submit a health and safety complaint about any suspected hazards to the company. This ensures that it is documented for statistical trending, investigated, and ultimately permits you to refer your complaint to the health and safety committee is the employer isn’t able to resolve it with you directly.
Many times during the pandemic, we have witnessed the power of good safety reporting. Now, in this third wave, members must redouble their efforts to not only talk about concerns, but file complaints about them to ensure something actually happens and that those concerns “exist” in the system!
A health and safety complaint can be filed on the iPad if you are an in-charge of via sims.aircanada.ca.
In recent months we have gone through many ups and downs. During these turbulent times we have been able to benefit from newfound resources that are available to us through CUPE National.
Several members have reached out with concerns over many of our “new” day to day realities, and we thought it was important to let you know that our National Union is behind us and has been the whole way through this pandemic.