Secretary Treasurer Report – December 2020

Please see below the quarterly updates regarding the financial affairs of the Component:

Budget Follow-Up
As a follow-up to the 6-month Budget passed by ACCEX in June 2020, I have continued to try and find further cost-savings:

  • We were able to end the lease and associated expenses for a small office that we had in YVR last month. This office was used by a member of our Worker’s Compensation Committee and they will now work out of the Local 4094 Office.
  • We have cancelled our Bell telephone lines at the Component Office. Our local number, toll-free number, and extensions all remain the same, but instead of having a traditional phone in the office the phone will now “ring” on our laptops and cell phones.  This represents a savings of approximately 66% and allows us to make and receive calls using our Component numbers from anywhere we have an internet connection. Most of our staff and committee members are working from home due to COVID-19 therefore it makes logical sense to initiate this changeover.
  • There will be no 2021 CUPE pocket calendars printed this year. Not only is this a large cost savings but it also aligns with our goals of reducing our Union’s environmental footprint. The same information that was normally found in the front pages of the calendar can be accessed on the Component Mobile App or Website.  We have also noted over the years that members are moving over to online resources, so with the elimination of the paper calendar, we have also increased the information on our App and Website.
  • We will continue to take advantage of the CEWS program for our office staff. Unfortunately, the new formula is less advantageous with weekly payments decreasing and as such had to make the difficult decision to layoff one staff member.

ACCEX will be meeting in the coming weeks to review and approve a further 6-month budget for the second half of the 2020-21 Fiscal Year.

Our external auditors are scheduled to begin their audit of the 2020 Year-End Finances in January 2021. This will ensure we remain completely up-to-date with our accounting audits.  I also hope to have the Component Trustee’s resume their audits in the new year, now that all three have received the required training. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay in getting training scheduled for our newest trustee as CUPE National was not offering any education courses throughout most of the year until they recently launched virtual offerings.

Highest Earner Top-Up
In my last update I advised that ACCEX sent letters to the former Component President and Component Vice-President regarding repayment of disputed amounts in top-up payments last term. Neither of the two former officers responded to the letter. ACCEX has taken the decision to have legal counsel review this matter and provide guidance to us. In addition the current Component President has not been part of these discussions or decisions and has excused himself during meetings where it is discussed.

Please see the table below with amounts for  the Highest Earner for September and October 2020:

Block Month Highest Earner
Sep 2020 $9,564.67
Oct 2020 $9,307.33

Statement of Operation – Q1 2021 Fiscal Year (July 2020-Sep 2020)
For Comparison, our Income during the first quarter is the equivalent of a single month’s income in 2019. We are currently in a deficit position, which was expected through the budgeting process in June as we have many fixed costs.  In addition, many annual expenses such as our property tax, commercial insurance, and grievance database fees were all recorded in the first quarter which does make the deficit larger. So far from reviewing the second quarter it does appear we will be in a break-even position.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and hopefully a brighter and better 2021!

In Solidarity,

Alex Habib
Secretary-Treasurer, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Component Secretary-Treasurer’s Report – September 2020

I hope you are staying healthy and got to enjoy your summer, even if it did not involve your usual peak summer flying. Similarly to many of our members, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the Union’s financial position and we continue to take steps to address it by reducing our cash burn as much as possible. Please see the following updates since my last report.

We currently have the majority of our cash invested in three GICs with maturing dates over the next year. Fortunately, all of our GIC’s were purchased prior to the drop in interest rates as result of COVID-19, so we are earning considerable returns.

Belfield Office Update
The Component office reopened in August as the Toronto region entered “Phase 3” of the Ontario Government’s reopening plan. As part of our reopening our Staff and Committee Members continue to have the option of working from home as they have done so effectively while the office was closed. This is also inline with our budget passed in June which had all Component Committees reduce their in-office time by 50% to save on expenses.

As a follow-up to the Budget we passed at our June ACCEX meeting, I have continued to try and find further cost-savings. We continue to take advantage of the CEWS for our office staff which was recently extended until December 2020. Unfortunately, the new formula is less advantageous with weekly payments decreasing over the next few months and we have therefore adjusted our staffing levels accordingly.

The 2019 year-end audit was completed by our external auditors in early August and approved by ACCEX at our August meeting. Thankfully, this was a much simpler process as it was the first full year with new bookkeepers. This term we have been able to bring the Component up to date by completing 4 years of audits. We will also begin the 2020 year-end audit on schedule in January 2021.

Highest Earner Top-Up
As you may recall, last term there was a disputed amount of top-up paid to the Component Officers during their term. When I took office last year, I was first tasked by ACCEX to reconcile the disputed amount and attempt to recover the funds. At that time, the former Component Secretary-Treasurer was the only officer who responded and paid the disputed amount in full.

At our ACCEX meeting last month we discussed ways to recover payment from the former Component President and Component Vice-President. A decision was made to send a final letter requesting payment by September 30, 2020. This letter was signed by all the voting members of ACCEX and advised if we did not hear back by September 30th that we would review our options to take legal action against the former officers.

Please see the table below for the highest earner in the bargaining unit for the past six months.

Block Month Highest Earner
Jun 2020 $9,491.33
Jul 2020 $9,570.67
Aug 2020 $9,603.33

Statement of Operation – 2020 Fiscal Year (July 2019- June 2020)
As noted below we do end the year with a small deficit, however this is solely a result of the 2-month dues reduction that put $505,910 back into the membership’s pocket. If we had not provided this reduction, we would have ended the year with a significant surplus.

Dues Income                                                                $5,006,812
Rental Income                                                             $52,008
Other Income (interest on investments)               $89,169
Total Revenue                                                                       $5,147,989

Dues Paid to CUPE National                                         $1,742,547
Airline Division Affiliation                                             $9,627
Funding to Locals (YVR, YYC, YUL, YYZ and RG)   $1,039,659
Administration (Staff and Building)                            $832,998
Committees                                                                       $1,059,825
Grievance Legal/Arbitration                                         $637,027
Total Expenses                                                                           $5,321,683

Surplus (Deficit)                                                               ($173,694)

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy fall!

In Solidarity,

Alex Habib
Secretary-Treasurer, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report – June 2020

Since my last financial update to the membership a lot has changed in our work and personal lives, and in turn the Union will also need to adjust to our current reality.  The Component over the past years has come to expect membership growth year-over-year which in turn has fueled revenue growth. As we enter the months ahead, we will need to be more financially prudent. The good news is that over the years the Union has set aside funds for such a scenario which allowed us to offer a two-month dues reduction and will assist us to weather the reduced dues revenue over the next few months.

Component Trustees and Audits
Our external auditors completed their audits on the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Year Ends earlier this year. The Financial Statements were presented to ACCEX by our auditors who joined us at our first Virtual ACCEX Meeting in May. They were subsequently unanimously approved.

The external auditors have also begun work on auditing our 2019 year-end last week and hope to have it completed by the end of July. I feel it is important to have the auditors complete their audit in a timely manner so that any accounting errors can be fixed for the go-forward.

The Component Trustees were on-site in late January to complete their 2015 audit. Unfortunately, they were unable to complete their audit. A new trustee was also acclaimed during this year’s election; however, we were unable to get them trained before the effect of COVID-19 shutdown the economy.

Union Dues
In May 2020, the membership passed a referendum reducing Union Dues to 0.5% of gross earnings for the April 2020 and May 2020 block months. The Component continued to remit per capita to CUPE National and provide full budgets to the Locals during that time. Union dues have returned to 1.5% of gross earnings for the June 2020 block month.

2020-21 Fiscal Budget
Instead of passing a traditional 1-year budget, we decided to pass a 6-month budget for the first half of the year. We will pass a second budget for the second half of the year later, once we have a better understanding of our longer-term membership numbers. In the budgeting process, I tasked each Committee Chair to go through a zero-based budgeting process to help eliminate unnecessary cost and truly justify every expense. At our ACCEX meeting last week, we passed this budget, which saw cuts in every area of our spending except for the Dues we  pay to CUPE National, as well as the Local Budgets as these are fixed per-capita costs. The budget does have us dipping into $200,000 of our cash reserves with most of these funds allocated to our Grievance Committee and Health & Safety Committee’s legal costs.

Highest Earner Top-Up
Please see the table below for the highest earner in the bargaining unit for the past six months:

Statement of Operations – July 1 2019 to March 31 2020
Please note that this represents the first three quarters of the last fiscal year and doesn’t yet show the effects of COVID-19 or the two-month dues reduction which will eliminate the surplus shown below.

In conclusion, our members can rest assured we will continue to provide careful oversight on costs and spending. I would especially like to thank our committee members and staff for their ongoing support as we enter this challenging new fiscal year which will require everyone to adapt, and for us to continue to seek the most effective ways of serving you, our members.

In Solidarity,

Alex Habib
Secretary-Treasurer, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Update from the Component Secretary-Treasurer

Over the past few weeks, I have received a few emails regarding union dues and whether the Union could give a dues holiday at the current time.

First, I believe it is important to understand the union dues structure. Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge deduct union dues from your monthly pay cheque and remit the dues to the Component. The Component is then responsible for remitting a “per capita” payment to CUPE National. The Component is also responsible for sending the five Locals of the Air Canada Component their monthly budgets which are set out in the Component Bylaws. The remaining dues are used by the Component to pay our staff, lawyers, committee members, and a variety of overhead costs.

Last week I reached out to the CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer requesting a dues holiday on our per capita remittance so that we could in turn lower union dues or give a complete dues holiday. This is similar in nature as to how WIP does the odd dues holiday. I received a reply yesterday, which you can read HERE. In essence, the Component cannot unilaterally reduce dues or provide a dues holiday, as the CUPE constitution sets a minimum due structure and any changes in union dues requires a membership Bylaw referendum and approval of the National President.

It is important to note that we operate on a percentage dues structure. This means that members who have their hours or earnings reduced will see a corresponding reduction in the dues they pay. The Component Bylaws set union dues at 1.5% of gross income, and this is why earnings received under the CEWS program will be subject to union dues as they are income from the employer. For those on the CERB program, union dues will not be collected as you are not on the Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge payroll.

I have also received questions about the strike fund. The strike fund is managed by CUPE National and is for the explicit purpose of supporting members on strike. Many other CUPE locals and sectors are in bargaining and need a strong strike fund to back them up at the table. The strike fund also covers other costs such as strike averting and support campaign costs, as well as interest arbitration and legal costs. Even if the funds were given directly to members, CUPE would be required to withhold taxes at the source, and these would need to be declared by the recipient, which could in turn reduce government assistance. It is also important to note that we have not lost our right to strike in the future, we have that right, and if we strike we will need to demonstrate to the employer that we have a strong strike fund to carry us forward.  This we have, and if we need to use it in 2025, we will have full access as established in the CUPE Constitution.

I hope this provides some clarity on the situation and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions.

In Solidarity,

Alex Habib
Secretary-Treasurer, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Component Secretary-Treasurer’s Report – January 2020

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a great start to 2020! It’s also time for an update on the Union’s finances as we have just passed the halfway point in our fiscal year.

Building Improvements
The Component’s main office is located at 25 Belfield Road. As part of this year’s budget, ACCEX approved capital improvements to our aging building.

We recently installed new windows in the entire building as well as a programmable thermostat. These two improvements have drastically increased our buildings efficiency, as both our Hydro and Gas bills show almost a 50% decrease in energy usage over the same period last year.   Not only is this great for the environment but it will also reduce our heating and cooling costs.

The interior of the building also received a fresh paint job in a more modern colour. It has helped to brighten up the building, please see the pictures below:


Component Trustees and Audits
Our external auditors are close to completing audits on the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Year Ends. The Component Trustees are scheduled, for two weeks at the end of this month, to conduct an audit on the remaining portion of the 2015 Year-end that was not audited last term.

Highest Earner Top-Up
Please see the table below for the highest earner in the bargaining unit for the past five months:

Block Month Highest Earner
Jul 2019 $9,521.33
Aug 2019 $9,896.00
Sep 2019 $9,825.33
Oct 2019 $9,350.00
Nov 2019 $9,290.00


Financial Report – First Half of 2019-20
During the first half of this fiscal year, we have brought in $2,578,653 in union dues.  From that amount we paid the Locals, $455,700, and paid $783,452, to CUPE National. We spent $598,121 on Committees and direct member to Union contact (grievances, lawyers, Health & Safety, etc.) at the Component Level.

In Solidarity,

Alex Habib
Secretary-Treasurer, Air Canada Component of CUPE