Opt-out vs. Right to Refuse Dangerous Work:
The right to refuse dangerous work seems to have become confused with a company policy – since removed – whereby workers could opt-out of operating to certain destinations or certain aircraft ahead of time. These two things are not the same and nobody has lost their right to refuse dangerous work.
Anyone who believes ahead of time that they may need to exercise their right to refuse dangerous work is encouraged to file a health and safety complaint. Filing a health and safety complaint does not remove any of your rights but may allow management to resolve the issue without it coming to a work refusal at time-of-flight duty.
The Union’s bulletin on work refusals can be obtained by sending a blank email to email@example.com. You will receive an instant reply on the work refusal process.
Workers who do not want to operate to a destination or on a certain aircraft type prior to reporting for duty can ask for a leave from crew scheduling, if available. If the leave is not available, the scheduler will guide you to a manager to discuss any safety concerns.
Workers who arrive at the workplace for work and refuse assignment because they feel that it endangers them by putting their life or health, or that of another colleague, in imminent or serious danger retain their right to refuse dangerous work in accordance with the Canada Labour Code.
What happens to your health and safety complaints or injury reports if you go on layoff?
By reporting suspected hazards and injuries, you aren’t just making the workplace safer for yourself, but also for your coworkers – some of whom continue to fly. The committees have a vested interest in ensuring that any potential hazard is properly investigated with the goal of keeping the workplace safe for anyone who enters it.
If you are on layoff or heading onto layoff, the committees continue to treat your reports. If it is necessary to discuss your issue, you may be contacted by phone and a message will be left if no one answers clearly stating it is the joint committee following up. We know you are off work but encourage you to donate a bit of time so that we can handle your issue with the care it deserves and ensure the workplace is safer when you return.
The US Centers for Disease Control released information offering new advice on masks. More specifically, the information focuses on the potential benefits of increasing mask efficiency through better fit accomplished using special devices or double masking. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has not changed its guidance, but this could change.
Your representatives have raised the issue of masking policy changes and will work with the company at the committees to update information accordingly, when warranted.
The CDC information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/effective-masks.html
The PHAC’s guidance can consulted here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html#a1
Transport Canada’s guidance material for masking, which has recently been aligned with the PHAC can be found here: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/covid-19-information-travellers-within-canada
New COVID-19 Variants:
Your union is aware of the UK, South American and Brazilian variants and are monitoring the information coming out of the UK, EU and North American public health authorities. The potential impact of these variants is a matter that is being brought into discussion with the company during conversations relevant to COVID-19.
At the present time genomic sequencing to identify variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus in positive test results is inconsistent from province to province, with many health authorities saying they’re working to increase their capacity.
At this time, variant status is not part of the company’s contact tracing process as it is not received from public health. The recommended measures to take for close contact or suspected contact with a positive case remain the same regardless of variant.
Please remember that the employer does not share COVID positive results, with names to the Union. We highly encourage you to reach out and advise us should you wish the Union to know that you are COVID positive, or have been, so we can do our part through Health and Safety. It has been one year since we started getting affected by COVID in our workplace, we must come out stronger, and need to learn as much as we can from the virus, practises and implemented policies.
Cabin Air Quality Campaign:
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Airline Division of CUPE has been a member of the GCAQE, a labour-driven organization specializing and advocating for workers’ rights to clean cabin air.
On February 15th the GCAQE launched a global campaign, supported by representatives of over 1 million aviation workers, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Cabin Crew Association (EurECCA).
The campaign includes a detailed press release and short video, available in English and French, and can be viewed by going to www.gcaqe.org/cleanair.
As a reminder, the Union’s cabin air quality bulletin can be obtained by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE Cabin Air Quality Conference March 15-18 2021:
The GCAQE is sponsoring a FREE conference on cabin air quality between March 15-18. It is possible to register for specific days/sessions by going to www.aircraftcabinair.com.
This conference is typically held in London England, making it difficult for our members to participate. The Union encourages its members to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from a variety of world subject matter experts and industry players on this important issue from the comfort of their own home.
Your Air Canada Component of CUPE Health and Safety Committee