days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Coronavirus Update 46

NOTE: This bulletin applies to ALL members, both Mainline & Rouge

As governments are forced to make tough decisions in order to preserve fragile healthcare networks and protect vulnerable citizens, the company has likely taken the holiday period to ponder what to do. To date we have not seen any direction or any clear path forward.

Masks have consistently proven to be a crucial measure to protect against COVID-19, particularly the much more infectious omicron variant – regardless of airflow. Our members have filed hundreds of reports outlining how service is the number one cause of passengers being unmasked onboard, and how these current levels present a hazard.

The Union must point out the profound disillusionment and feeling of abandonment that its members are expressing regarding their employer. It appears that the concerns and entreaties from the front line are falling on deaf ears.

We believe that the company ought to be leading by example and proving to be a responsible corporate citizen by curtailing procedures that encourage risky behaviour. To us they appear to be impotent and unable to come to terms with the pandemic and take appropriate action. Despite what some may think, the pandemic is not over. It is here and it is moving like a wildfire through the membership and society on every level. We do not say this to instill fear or perpetuate misinformation. This is a fact.

In June 2020, we made it clear to the company that to best navigate the pandemic, they would need to remain nimble with a Plan B should the circumstances suddenly change. We find ourselves here now, with no clear leadership from Company executives.  Leadership, that up until the New Year appeared to believe that the pandemic could be wished away and forgotten with a smoke screen of linens, cheeses, and endless promotions.

The company continuously asserts that its customers want service and that they must compete to be relevant. Our members and all employees live in the communities that feed the company’s operation. We know their customers as well as they are our brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances. We can report that what they actually want is to know that their health and safety are protected, and they can travel from one place to another with the least amount of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  This is especially true in the current Omicron climate.

Air Canada’s number one asset and selling feature has always been and should continue to be safety. Numerous other Canadian carriers have reduced their onboard service prior to or during the holidays (Air North, Calm Air, Air Transat, Sunwing, PAL).

In that light, the Union is calling on the company to make the following changes effective immediately:

  • Bottled water and Cleancare kits as well as a bagged snack only on flights under 2.5 hours.
  • All-inclusive tray and bottled water/canned beverages only in premium class on North America flights over 2.5 hours and signature international.
  • Can/Bottled beverage service only in North America economy class over 2.5 hours and international.
  • Elimination of 2nd bistro service in North America, and reduction to 3 options only to expedite service.
  • Elimination of mid-flight and pre-landing service on all flights except ultra-long-haul.
  • Water service twice per flight using bottled water on overseas and long-haul. No water service on domestic flights.
  • Elimination of alcoholic beverages in all classes.

In closing, the company continuously refers to its risk assessments to justify service. As part of your right to know, it needs to be stated that we believe that the company’s own safety personnel and medical experts get overridden by service delivery and marketing representatives. This is no way to assess, let alone mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and to do so in a meaningful way. This only leads to more documented concerns about the company’s risk assessment process by the Union.

Our diverse population means that families are scattered across the globe. After two years of this pandemic, people want to travel, and they want to do so safely. Our members are there for them and each workday, they put themselves right on the front line. We are asking the company leadership to truly understand onboard realities.  If they can continue to assert that nothing needs to change, we counter that assertion in no uncertain terms. In order to protect all of the travelling public, their important customers and most crucial of all, their valued employees, change must come, and it must be swift. There is no room for inaction.  In closing we leave you with the words of Dale Carnegie.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.”

In solidarity,