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Component Secretary-Treasurer's Responses

The intent of this bulletin is to address the numerous questions that have arisen as of late regarding the financial administration at the Component level.  As your dues fund the workings of our Union, it is important that you are provided with some further detail.  It is apparent that the issue of the Component Executives’ compensation has been problematic for some time.  This term, as the Secretary-Treasurer, I would often ask the Central Site reps how they came to the determination of the highest earner.  Over the years Component would often get a one-line answer without expanding on their findings.  In reviewing the past top ups it has been noted the highest earner identified was the Component President, with no flying hours; a flight attendant returning to work with a vacation payout; special assignments; and Service Directors working beyond monthly limitations with DOT.  These variances are directly attributable to the absence of any definition on what constitutes earnings in the applicable Air Canada Component Bylaw:
6.3(s) In combination with any Company paid flight release, receive a supplementary payment from the Union, in order to receive a total monthly pay equal to the highest earner of the bargaining unit in that month
This is the source of the historical lack of clarity in compensation for Component Officers.
In the absence of a bylaw that clearly itemizes what is to be considered as earnings, it is left to the current administration to determine the highest earner for that month.  As you are now aware an interpretation was provided by the Component President Marie-Hélène Major during an executive meeting earlier this week.
The Component Officers’ compensation is addressed in an MOS that was signed with Air Canada in 2007 (Click HERE to view). Under this MOS Union executive compensation is addressed.  At the Component level, the Component President and Component Vice-Presidents’ base salaries are established and stipulated as paid by Air Canada.  Although the Component President, Component Vice-President, and Local Presidents are all included in this MOS the Component Secretary-Treasurer was not.  As a result, the Component Secretary-Treasurer is compensated by the Union. Should the Secretary-Treasurer be appointed to a company paid committee; participate at UMHQ; or form a member of the bargaining committee, the applicable time will be paid for by the employer at the individual’s rate of pay.
The following information is based on cheques produced and documents on file at the Component Office.
For the current term, 2017-February to 2019-January
Component President Marie-Hélène Major, Component Vice-President Beth Mahan and Component Secretary-Treasurer Wesley Lesosky
The “Top-Up” portions that came from the union, are mentioned below.
Component President (Marie-Hélène Major, Flight Attendant)
115 hours per block month paid at wide body rate (Article 5.05) this is COMPANY PAID.
Average top up is $1,782.67 in addition to the 115 hours above.
Component Vice-President (Beth Mahan, Flight Attendant)
110 hours per block month paid at the wide body rate (Art 5.05) this is COMPANY PAID.
Average top up is $2,180.66 in addition to the 110 hours above.
Component Secretary-Treasurer (Wesley Lesosky, Flight Attendant)
105 hours per block month paid at my current rate, Flight Attendant 10th year.
As Hotel Committee Chair 40 hours is paid by Air Canada.  As per the Bylaws the remaining 65 hours are paid by the Union.  The fact that the Secretary-Treasurer is not included in the MOS results in a more significant top up in order to bring him/her in line with the Component Executive compensation.
Average top up is $4,306.35
It should also be noted that we have reviewed all of the top-ups that were paid during this current term, and we will be removing all special assignment and vacation payouts. To be clear, there were no payments based on any settlements or grievances during this term. There was a top earner that had a payment over $20,000 and it was never considered.
For the term, 2015-February to 2017-January
Component President Michel Cournoyer, Component Vice-President Edith Gagnon and Component Secretary-Treasurer Antonius Lam
The common process this term, like ours, was that the Secretary-Treasurer verified the recommendations from Central Site and either agreed or disagreed.  The final selection was never sent to Central Site. Central Site requested documentation for June and July 2016 as they were not consulted on a recommendation.  The cheques for this month were issued after the Secretary-Treasurer received confirmation from Central Site.  In October 2015, Central Site’s recommendation was not followed and a higher earner was identified.  In June 2015, the top-up cheques were re-issued based on a higher earner with non-flying credits.  March and April 2015, the highest earner recommended was the Component President based on compensation established by non-flying hours.
For the term, 2013-February to 2015-January
Component President Michel Cournoyer, Component Vice-President Katherine Kontosthenos and Component Secretary-Treasurer Joyce Nakanishi
The October 2014 Central Site recommendation was established as number 9 on the highest earner list. However the highest earner recommended was the Component President based on compensation established by non-flying hours.  For the month of November 2014, although the source of the earnings was not identified, a top-up payment was made.  The variance of $2,000.00 was unable to be linked back to flying hours.  The Component President was selected as the highest earner despite the fact Central Site had recommended a lower earner, this happened multiple times.  The bookkeeper was provided with Central Site’s recommendation for the number 1 earner but no determination as to why or how that member was selected.  The cheques this term were also often signed by the Component Officers receiving them.
From February 2013 to July 2013, the Component Secretary-Treasurer was compensated at her rate as a  Flight Attendant.  However, in August 2013, that was changed to compensation based on the Service Director classification.
In order to formalize Central Site’s involvement in the process the Central Site Mandate (Click HERE to view) was recently updated.  The previous mandate (Click HERE to view) was silent on Central Site’s role.
Reviewing Finances
When requesting to review finances, as per the CUPE Bylaws, any request goes through the Secretary-Treasurer.  For the Component President s/he is permitted to review the files anytime requested.  It is unfortunate that the past Component President and Vice-President have chosen not to avail themselves of the opportunity to review the finances. As an invited guest at the Local 4092  General Membership Meeting, I anticipated questions related to finances.  In preparation I produced a list of top-ups paid to have available for review.  As per past trustee recommendations, and as responsible stewards of our union’s financial information, all financial records, component files, backups, cheques and petty cash are stored securely under lock and key.  This is as per past Trustee recommendations, and being a responsible steward of financial information.
Belfield Accountant
One of the more challenging issues I was faced with when I came into office was the disarray of the office finances, the backlog in billings and payables, and the filing and accounting software.  The bookkeeper that was at Belfield retired officially on December 14, 2018.  There were some serious issues that needed to be addressed, however she was not terminated.
When we came into office we were dealing with the National Bank of Canada.  The fees and banking services were out of line with what we needed.  Furthermore, the in-house bookkeeper was named on all of the Component accounts and could make changes, trades and withdrawals without authorization.  This was identified as a top priority when we took office.  In order to ensure we were compliant with CUPE’S policies, the current Component Officers were registered as the official signing authorities on the accounts.  We moved to online banking, previously only the bookkeeper had access.  As per best practise we have added a secondary authorization for the EFT services to pay staff.
It is of grave concern that the author of Sky News has taken it upon himself to reproduce an ACCEX motion.  Below is the correct motion #2018-07-13-01 (Click HERE to view).
MOTION #2018-07-13-01: To direct the Component President to send an email to Joe Morello today to get the 3 points committed to in writing to cease denying flight releases, and the interim suspension of any claw back of the Component Secretary-Treasurer’s pay until the matter is resolved and to adhere to the past practice and the Union interpretation on Reserve Voluntary Extension while on overlap.  Failing written confirmation of these commitments by 5:00pm EST July 13, 2018 the previous approved Skytrax’s bulletin will be issued to the membership today.
Moved by: Beth Mahan  Seconded by: Wesley Lesosky
ACCEX not all in favour.
Earlier I addressed the fact of the revised Central Site role in the mandate.  Below you will see the new Bylaw interpretation regarding what constitutes earnings in the determination of highest earner:
The earnings of the “highest earner of the bargaining unit in that month” is defined as income earned from flying hours and regular vacation only in the respective month. It shall include any Continuous Duty Day (CDD), Duty Overtime (DOT), Draft, Duty Period Guarantee (DPG), and Trip Hour Guarantee (THG).
For greater clarity, the earnings calculation shall exclude any profit sharing, bonuses, lumpsum payment, vacation backpay, timebank or backpay of any sort. Short and long term special assignment shall also be excluded.
The interpretation is based on past practice and the fact that special assignment is work performed outside of our bargaining unit, as per Letter of Understanding 5 of our collective agreement: “cabin personnel on special assignments are recognized to be in a quasi management position with respect to their duties, responsibilities and functions and are expected to perform as part of management during this period.
With the new interpretation, we will be able to move forward with clarity and confidence.  All of the participants involved in recommending and establishing the highest earner, and therefore the top-up for the Component Executive, will have a template for their work.
Please reach out anytime,
Wesley Lesosky
Component Secretary-Treasurer