CHQ-21-04 & CHQ-rouge-21-02 – Unreasonable Code of Conduct (“Conflict of Interest”) Policy

In response to the company’s unreasonable blanket prohibition preventing laid off members from working for other airlines as flight attendants, your union has filed mainline and Rouge policy grievances to challenge the company’s restrictive and unfair policy.

It is flagrant abuse of management rights to prevent members from earning wages during these uncertain times.   Our members have admirably borne the effects of pandemic and the loss of their livelihoods.  Given that there is no certainty on reopening borders and when financial assistance will be delivered to the sector, the company’s actions are particularly harsh and punitive.

While the company alleges that the Conflict of Interest policy prohibits members from being employed by other airlines, there is no reason to prevent laid off employees from earning a living wage right now.  The company has failed to demonstrate that laid off employees working for other airlines during the pandemic is a conflict of interest.  It is in the interest of the union’s members to avail themselves of job opportunities in their chosen profession while on lay off.

We are committed to challenging the company’s conduct and representing the interests of our members.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Violence and Harassment Survey

We are excited to announce a new national survey on workplace violence and harassment.

Take the survey now.

It is the first ever survey on violence and sexual harassment in the workplace with a national reach in Canada, and will help unions, employers and policy makers create safer workplaces for everyone.

The survey is being conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress in partnership with research experts at Western University.

We need all workers to fill it out—workers of every gender, whether or not you have experienced or witnessed workplace violence or harassment. This is how we will get a clearer picture of workers’ experiences in workplaces across the country.

The survey is open to all workers 18 years of age or older. It takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes to complete, and your response will be anonymous.

The survey is online here. Your participation makes a difference.

Thanks for your help in making work safer for everyone.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Meeting with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra

Yesterday afternoon Component Vice President Theresa Mitchell, Airline Division Secretary-Treasurer Rena Kisfalvi, and I had the pleasure of meeting with the Honourable Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. This meeting was held at our request so that we could discuss the many issues we are currently facing in the Transportation sector.

We discussed a multitude of topics that have come forward since the onset of the pandemic.  Some of the key points we raised were:

1. Consultation and the fact that we need to be consulted on reopening borders and the economic recovery, in addition to an industry aid package that will be going out to the airlines in general.

2. There are tens of thousands of unemployed workers in this industry in Canada right now. Any aid package must prioritize workers, and in particular, funding for education and training to help people support themselves and get back into the workforce. Sixty-one per cent of our airline division members surveyed said they would be willing to move into another line of work to help with the pandemic. Each of you are highly skilled, first aid trained, first responders and often multilingual.  We stressed the need for the government to recognize and use this as a benefit.

3. CEWS was raised again, and we further asserted that this system is broken. Air Canada didn’t use it, Air Canada Rouge didn’t use it and we certainly feel every worker should have been afforded equal government assistance. Any aid package should require the airlines to use CEWS.  Each Canadian airline employee should have equal opportunity to the government assistance that is on the table.  We should not be forced onto EI, while others enjoy CEWS and some of the many benefits that come along with it.

4. Air Transat acquisition and the lack of transparency.

5. Vaccines were stressed as something our members need access to, and NOW.  You cannot work from home, you cannot physically distance at work, and you come into contact with dozens, if not hundreds, of people daily in the course of your duties. The Union strongly believes that cabin crew fit every federal qualification for early immunization and should be prioritized accordingly.  We all must be able to return to work safely in order for the economy and borders to reopen safely.

The Minister was very humble, receptive, and  supportive. He came across as being genuine when he recognized the contribution each member has made during such difficult times.  This is a work in progress, and after a year of silence under the previous Transport Minister, a huge first step.

We look forward to more open dialogue regarding any financial assistance for the sector, enhancements to federal aid programs or a reopening of the borders.  We impressed upon the Minister the adverse and far-reaching impact felt by our members.  We are very pleased to have this Minister take the time to listen and will continue to ensure that your government will hear what we have to say and make a meaningful difference.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Coronavirus Update 34

New Contact Tracing Procedures
The company issued a bulletin on Thursday March 11th announcing changes to the contact tracing process. These changes were brought to the Union’s attention on February 26th with no warning. It is important the membership know that the Union strongly raised the fact that variants of concern are on the rise and that in our opinion this is not the time to remove protections. As much as mandatory releases rendered a certain hardship for our membership, it was unequivocally the safest path to take amidst the second wave of this pandemic and facing a third wave at many of the destinations we serve. The additional option to test and return to work after 5 days as implemented last October also greatly alleviated the burden on many of our members, striking a balance of sorts.

Please know that this was the company’s decision. Once informed about it we worked tirelessly to inform ourselves and seek modifications to ensure the highest possible level of safety for all our crews. There is, however, no way of painting this change as an increase or even a maintenance of the level of safety previously enjoyed by the front-line workers of IFS. It is, in effect, a calculated risk on the part of the employer.

We remind our members that under the Canada Labour Code Part II it is the employer’s duty to ensure the safety of its workers, but also the duty and right of the workers to report potential hazards or violations to the Code. Should you feel that there is a hazard, please file a health and safety complaint e-report by going to sims.aircanada.ca.

Have you contracted COVID at work, abroad or from an unknown location
Please ensure you reply to this email, advise Name, Employee Number and any information on your COVID positive status.  The Union does not get specifics from the employer, so we are not able to get factual data on the spread of COVID-19 through the workplace or how its affecting our members.  This information is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and only used for data purposes and to ensure your Union is doing all it can on combatting the exposure risks.  We are here to support you.  Your Local Health and Safety Chairs, Component Health and Safety Chair and Component President review COVID issues 7 days a week to ensure we reach out where required, and when there is a spike in flights we can review with members as the concerns come in.  We are one year in, and believe there to be more information out there from the members that would allow us to do our part in tracing the How, When, Where and Why’s with COVID exposure.

PPE Update
Effective immediately, the company in consultation with the health and safety committees and experts is strongly recommending the use of protective eyewear or faceshield while at work. Transmission of COVID-19 is widely acknowledged to transmit by droplets of various sizes as well as aerosols. By wearing eye protection, you not only reduce the risk of contracting the virus from droplets to the eye, but also from unintentionally touching your eyes with dirty hands.

Protective safety glasses, disposable side-guards for prescription lenses, as well as face shields are available at your crew centre.

At this time the Union recommends using ALL protective equipment and reminds its members that they are permitted to take as many items as required for their flight assignments. Please let the Union know if there are any difficulties with this.

Instructions on PPE as well as guidance for mask compliance onboard can be found in ePub under the COVID-19 Tile.

14-day Quarantine Exemption Update
A reminder to members that there are important duties tied to the 14-day quarantine exemption for aircrew. These are not optional, and we have been advised by the PHAC that enforcement and verification is possible and has potential to result in significant fines and imprisonment for non-compliance:

  • Wear a mask that a screening officer or quarantine officer considers suitable to minimize the risk of introducing or spreading COVID-19 when they are in public settings, including when entering Canada; and
  • Maintain a list of the names and contact information of each person with whom the person came into close contact and the locations visited during the 14-day period. Close contact includes persons with whom you have been within 2metres for a cumulative period of 15 minutes or more within 24hrs. It may also include but isn’t limited to persons with whom you have engaged in higher risk activities such as physical activity, sharing an indoor space, or with whom basic recommended precautions may not have been followed (eg. masking).

Work Refusal Update
In the 11FEB2021 issue of the IFS News, the company advised of a change in process for employees who have concerns about operating to certain destinations. The process, as outlined was that when advised by an employee, crew scheduling would offer a leave of absence subject to availability, or, if not, the scheduler would guide the employee to a manager capable of continuing the discussion. This was discussed with the Union on the understanding that workers would never be penalized for concerns related to health and safety and that their concerns would be readily addressed with the company and properly documented.

This is not what has transpired based on your feedback.

To date, some employees who advised scheduling of concerns have seen their pairings removed from their schedules and have been assigned unavailable for duty with fault. They have not been transferred to a manager capable of handling their safety and health related concerns, but instead told they will have to go find and speak to a manager on their own time. Furthermore, there has been a lack of appropriate record-keeping, which has created a “they said this, they said that” scenario. The result has been members who have seen their assignments removed, a potential disciplinary code added to their schedule and no follow-up to their health and safety concerns.

In order to ensure that our members health and safety rights are properly respected the Union strongly advises its members of the following if they have concerns related to a destination or flight that touch on health and safety:

  • Crew scheduling is not tasked with safety and is not able or equipped to process health and safety complaints/concerns.
  • File a general health and safety complaint e-report ahead of time, if possible. This guarantees that your concern is properly documented in the company’s safety database and your representatives are copied. It also ensures your assignment isn’t arbitrarily removed from your schedule prior to having a chance to resolve your concern with a manager.
  • Should you not receive a response to your health and safety complaint prior to duty report time or should your concern not be addressed, prepare for work as expected and raise your concerns at the workplace upon check-in at the correct time citing your previous report if applicable.  Please note, you do not have to file a report first, you always have the right to raise your concern once you have checked in, and it must be addressed.

If you are at all put in an uncomfortable position by following the above, please reach out to the Union immediately, 24/7 through 1-866-758-3037 or email 247@accomponent.ca and someone will get back to you in a timely manner.

The Union reminds its members that it is their duty to report any potential hazards to the employer, but also their right for these potential hazards to be addressed. Information about the right to refuse dangerous work can be found at the end of chapter 2 in the FAM, and/or by sending an email to rtr@accomponent.ca.

We have seen a large increase in the COVID positive passengers on flights to/from Delhi, and remind all crew to ensure you are wearing your FULL PPE.

In Solidarity,

CHQ-21-03 – A330 Dream Cabin Aircraft Crew Rest

The Union is filing Policy Grievance CHQ-21-03 as the Company is failing to ensure that crew members can obtain their contractually required onboard break/rest on the newly configured A330 Dream cabin aircrafts.  Specifically, the High Comfort Jump seats at door 2 (L2/R2 stations) have been rendered unusable by the new Dream Cabin configuration as the privacy curtains have been removed and the lavatory doors open into the jump seats.   This is a violation of the Collective Agreement and past practice.

It is unfortunate that the company signed off on crew rest provisions for flights over 7 hours yet is not affording crew a safe space to take their contractually entitled crew rest.

The union has attempted to resolve this with the company but unfortunately, we do not see a resolve to this unless we pursue a grievance.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE