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

Grievance Committee Report – November 2009


1)      Policy Grievances

– New Policy Grievances 2009


2)      Arbitration

– Discrimination Grooming Issues (Nose Stud) YYZ-06-18


3)      Update on Recent Arbitration 

– CHQ-06-64 VSP and  CHQ-08-06 Voluntary Separation Package Limitation


4)      Update on Grievance Reviews: Policy, Discipline and Non-Block Rules Individual Grievances


5)      Update on Grievance Reviews: Individual Block Rules Grievances


6)      Meal  Allowance Grievances 

– Special Meals

– Pay Claims for Meal Allowances, Pay Issues, Crew Cycle Expenses and Ground Duty

– Supporting Documents


7)      Grievance Status Communication


8)      Withdrawn Grievances


9)      Grievance Files

– Supporting Documents

– Individual/Group Grievances


10)    Grievance Time Limits and Check List 

– Grievance Time Limits Review

– Grievance Check List


11)    Welcome to our New National Representative and Closing Remarks  




New Policy Grievances 2009

CHQ-09-01           Work of the Bargaining Unit

Air Canada has assigned managers and/or IFS Training Specialists the work of the bargaining unit on various flights.  This matter was of an urgent nature and was heard before Arbitrator Teplitsky on January 14th, 2009.  In his order he states:

“On a number of occasions over the Christmas holiday period and into the New Year, the Employer utilized non- bargaining unit personnel as flight attendants.  The Employer claims that exigent circumstances forced its hand.  It asserts that this is not its usual practice and is not continuing at this time.  The Union seeks an interim cease and desist order pending a hearing on the merits. 

I am satisfied that the Union has a strong prima facie case.  As well, the balance of convenience favours the Union given that the breach is not continuing.  Accordingly, pending a hearing on the merits, a cease and desist order shall be in place.”

The hearing was adjourned and this matter was heard on September 18th, 2009 at 9:00a.m.  At that time Arbitrator Teplitsky adjourned it for a full 2 day evidentiary hearing (date TBD) in order for both parties to bring witness testimony.  No further adjournments will be allowed.


CHQ-09-18     Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Improper Investigation Procedures

Air Canada is failing to properly investigate workplace harassment and discrimination complaints.  We have a member who was discriminated against and treated badly by hotel staff at one of our layover hotels.  C.U.P.E. feels that this matter was not properly investigated and addressed by Air Canada.  A Level II hearing was held on September 17th, 2009 and the grievor was able to express to Air Canada how frustrated and embarrassed he was by this occurrence.  Air Canada responded with an assertion that the offending hotel has now changed their policy.  Incidents of this nature should no longer occur at this property.


CHQ-09-19           Call-In Reserve Conversion

Air Canada violated Article B8.29 by failing to ensure that only 25% of Call-In Reserves would be converted to Ready Reserve calculated on a monthly basis at Montreal and Vancouver bases.  This matter has been brought to Air Canada’s attention and we brought it to Level II on September 17th, 2009.  We subsequently had a meeting on October 15th, 2009 to discuss possible remedies that would make our grievors whole and prevent these occurrences in future.  To date we do not have a concrete solution but we have indicated to Air Canada that there must be some remedy for our members. 


CHQ-09-20           Discrimination and Misuse of Duty to Accommodate

Air Canada and its Occupational Health Services department have employed discriminatory practices in determining fitness for return to work.  Our members are being asked to provide medical information that is outside that of what is required by law.  Air Canada and its representatives are only allowed to request a prognosis and what limitations the employee has so that they can accommodate them accordingly.  Air Canada representatives are overstepping their boundaries.  We held a Level II hearing regarding this matter on the 15th of October, 2009.  We received a Level II response in which Air Canada indicated that there was another bargaining unit who was facing a similar issue and that they wanted to wait to see the outcome of this issue before responding as it may have an outcome on our grievance. 


CHQ-09-21           AC IFS Policy Committee

The Union claims that the Employer unilaterally altered the composition of the Air Canada In-Flight Safety Policy Committee (“AC IFS Policy Committee”) by reducing the number of employee members from five to three. This matter will be dealt at mediation -arbitration which is scheduled in March 2010


CHQ-09-22     Reserve Blockholders and Voluntary Extension, Article

Air Canada has failed to implement Article from July 12, 2009 (being the date of ratification) onward, in the spirit and intent in which it was negotiated.  This grievance has had many discussions and back and forth bantering on the part of the parties.  We had a formal Level II hearing on this issue on October 15th, 2009.  We were very clear in our representation of our understanding of what was negotiated.  Unfortunately, Air Canada does not share our understanding.  Their Level II response was not a satisfactory one.  We shall now go forward to arbitration with this issue. 


CHQ-09-24           Work of the Bargaining Unit 

Air Canada has violated the collective agreement articles 2, 4, 16.10, the September 8th, 2008 Order of Arbitrator Teplitsky by allowing a manager to do work of the bargaining unit. This individual actually performed service and it is clear in the order of Arbitrator Teplitsky that this was not an acceptable practice. 


CHQ-09-25     Union – Management Headquarters Meetings, Failure to Consult

Air Canada unreasonably implemented a new pairing optimizer program without satisfactorily addressing the impact on working conditions through Union – Management Headquarters Committee Meetings (“UMHQ”), or throug
h any other method. 


CHQ-09-26           Bilingual Coverage Requirements, L2.02

Air Canada has improperly built pairings with a 100% BL requirement.  This matter should be remedied with the Pairing Optimizer grievance which is to go to full hearing on December 14th, 2009.


CHQ-09-27           Preparation of Blocks, PBS Language Pairings

Air Canada is building language pairings in an unreasonable and arbitrary manner, and in a manner inconsistent with past practice.  This grievance will also potentially be resolved during the full hearing on December 14th, 2009.


CHQ-09-28           Language Requirements, B4.02.02.01, Appendix IV

Air Canada is violating the Collective Agreement and deviating from past practice by blocking some flights with more than the 40% limit on route languages.  As with the other Pairing Optimizer grievances we hope to have resolution for this following our hearing on the 14th of December, 2009.


CHQ-09-29           Management Rights, Pairing creation, Health and Safety, Rest

Air Canada is abusing their management rights by creating pairings which unreasonably schedule or assign cabin personnel through extreme time zones.  We hope to see resolution on this matter following the full hearing on December 14th, 2009.



Discrimination/ Grooming Issues (nose stud) YYZ-06-18

At the May 30th grievance review there was an attempt made to resolve this.  The Company has approached the Union and has made tentative suggestions in order to resolve this issue. These suggestions have been unsatisfactory. The date for this arbitration has yet to be set.  This issue was put before the Air Canada Component of C.U.P.E. Executive so that a determination could be made as to the future of this grievance. 

A letter was sent to Air Canada legal counsel who requested compensation for the grievor and we wanted an assurance that she would be able to continue to wear her nose stud which was for religious reasons.  We also wanted to ensure that she would have a clear letter on her personal file to indicate her ability to wear the nose stud without harassment from any manager.   



CHQ-06-64    VSP and CHQ-08-06 Voluntary Separation Package Limitation

Arbitrator Teplitsky indicated “at least 250 VSP’s” did not equate to an unlimited number of VSP’s.  This matter went to Arbitration with Arbitrator Herman.  Air Canada was attempting to limit the amount of V.S.P’s for the three phases.(2007, 2008, 2009)  We were successful with our attempt to arbitrate the limit placed on the 2007 V.S.P.’s..  There were 21 denials in 2007 over and above the 250.

Arbitrator Herman ruled in our favour in regards to the 21 denials.  We have determined who the 21 eligible applicants were.  The next issue at hand is the 100 denials for 2008. 

We also arbitrated the 100 denials in 2008.  We were successful with this arbitration and Arbitrator Herman ruled in our favour. 

Air Canada has now asked for a judicial review of Arbitrator Herman’s decision.  We must now await the outcome of this proceeding before we can make any assertions as to who will receive V.S.P.’s. 

If Air Canada is not successful with the judicial review we will then go through the process of sorting through the overlap between the 2008 and 2009 V.S.P. awards to determine if there is a problem with the 2009 V.S.P. denials.

The judicial review was held at Osgood Hall on Tuesday November 3, 2009.  A decision will be forthcoming.   


UPDATE ON GRIEVANCE REVIEWS: Policy, Discipline and Non-Block Rules Individual Grievances

The most recent Grievance Review with Arbitrator Teplitsky took place on September 18th, 2009.  We are transitioning to the new arbitrator William Kaplan.  Arbitrator Teplitsky will continue to hear any items that he is seized of.

All other grievances will now be heard by Arbitrator Kaplan. We have a date set for the Pairing Optimizer grievances of December 14th, 2009. 

This is a full hearing with Arbitrator Kaplan. Our next date with Arbitrator Kaplan is February 1st, 2010. 


UPDATE ON GRIEVANCE REVIEWS:  Individual Block Rules Grievances

C.U.P.E. and Air Canada held their most recent block rule hearing on the 16th of November, 2009 at 25 Belfield Road.

Any settlements that were reached on this day were on a without prejudice, without precedence basis and only involve grievances based on case-specific circumstances.  



Special Meals

CHQ-06-30 Special Meals

The Union presented this policy grievance at the January 6th, 2009 monthly review.

Arbitrator Teplitsky issued an order which specifically stated:

“The employer is to supply special meals or pay expenses as per the Collective Agreement.”  

At this hearing on January 6th, 2009, the individual grievances were also discussed and the fact that they were still outstanding and needed to be resolved.

The company asked that the Union send them the information on all the individual grievances with the understanding that they would be paid out.  The Union did so and attempting to get an update on the status of payments, was told that the company was not interested in settling the outstanding grievances and would only be paying production costs.

On March 30th, 2009 Arbitrator Teplitsky gave the following ruling:

“In general, going forward, Air Canada must accommodate bona fide religious or dietary meal requirements or provide a reason why it cannot accommodate.  If Air Canada simply does not supply an appropriate meal, then the employee is entitled to be paid as per the Collective Agreement.  All outstanding grievances must either be settled or a date fixed for a hearing”.

On May 7th, 2009 Air Canada and stated that it had been confirmed by OHS that all the employees on the production cost list could have been accommodated with a meal type. The Union asked when outstanding payments would be processed for these members, in order to clear up all outstanding claims. 

Air Canada subsequently sent letters out to all members and referred to a special form that can be filled out entitled “Religious Special Meal Validation Form”. This would identify their specific meal requirements and allow Air Canada the opportunity to accommodate them. 

The bottom line is now this:

If a F/A cannot eat regular meals, and provides medical/religious substantiation, Air Canada has a duty to accommodate them by providing a special meal. If there is no special meal that meets a F/A’s needs, only then would the F/A be entitled to another form of compensation which we argue should be full expenses.

NOTEThe flight attendant may be required to provide medical documentation to support their claim .e.g.  A member states that they cannot eat any meals offered by Air Canada because they can only eat organic foods and Air Canada is unable to provide them with organic meals.  We would need medical evidence supporting the member’s assertion that he/she is unable to eat inorganic food.  Their treating physician would have to provid
e evidence on this issue and be cross-examined.  We would be required to show this is a recognized disability that needs to be accommodated.

C.U.P.E. is still following through in an attempt to resolve all outstanding previous meal grievances that are remaining from the Special Meal/Production Costs program. 


Pay Claims for Meal Allowances, Pay Issues, Crew Cycle Expenses and Ground Duty

Pay claims are now available on aeronet.  It is entitled eClaim.  Members will be able to submit these on line and obtain a proof of submission for following items:

  • Pay Adjustment
  • Ground Duty
  • Meals not Boarded
  • Crew Cycle Expenses (Form A’s do not need to be submitted when   a claim is sent electronically, however the grievor should retain a copy signed by the Service Dire tor in case it is required in the future)


Supporting Documents

In order to accurately apply the provisions of the MOA to the claims in question, it is necessary that all the information is included.  Although the differences between scheduled flights and actual flights may seem insignificant at first glance, it is crucial in determining the applicable meal entitlements and essential when making our case to the arbitrator.



Policy grievances are sent via email to all Locals and are posted on the website.  Please note that CHQ’s that include names of members such as Discharges are not posted on the website for privacy reasons.  A copy is sent to the local offices.

Orders and awards will continue to be immediately sent to all Locals as soon as we receive them.  Please keep in mind that in some cases it can take up to several days or weeks to receive the signed orders from the arbitrators.  Nonetheless, if the issue is of an urgent nature, we will advise the grievor of the decision pertaining to his/her grievance following the hearing. 


Grievance Time Limits AND CHECK LIST

Grievance Time Limits Review

The issue of time limits has hindered the outcome of many grievances.  The Company constantly challenges our cases on timeliness.  In addition, they use time limits to argue that they cannot recreate the award sequence or review open flight bid months after the fact.  It is crucial that time limits are adhered to. 

Following is a review of time limits for discipline and non-block rule grievances block rule grievances, and meal grievances.


Time Limits for Discipline Grievances

10 days of receipt of the Company decision exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.


Time Limits for Non-Block Rule Grievances

60 days after the grievor would reasonably have knowledge of the issue, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.


Time Limits for Block Rule Grievances

Pay claims must be filed within 14 days of the scheduled departure.

If the employee files a pay claim the 60 days start from the date the employee receives a response to his/her claim.

If the employee does not file a pay claim, the 60 days start from the date the employee becomes aware of the error/violation.

The 60 days are exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.


Time Limits for Meal Grievances

Paragraph 13 of the Meal Entitlement – MOA states that either party can file a pay claim for an alleged underpayment or overpayment.  The member or the Company has 12 months from the date of the alleged underpayment or overpayment.  This would be the 17th day of each month when the employee receives payment from the employer.

The Company must respond within 30 days of receiving the claim.  If the claim is denied and/or the member does not receive a response within 30 days, a grievance should be filed.

In the event that the Company fails to board a meal, the time commences on the date of the flight as the employee would have knowledge that the meal was missing during the flight.  This includes meals for members who are deadheading and do not receive a meal on board.

When submitting meal grievances please continue to provide us with a copy of the following (if applicable):

Form A – if the meal was to be boarded while operating or deadheading (with Service Director’s signature).

Form A and the teletype confirmation – for a special meal ordered and not boarded.

Form B – If there has been an underpayment

Pay Summaries, Pairing Details and Master Schedules.

All of the pertinent documentation is very important to a successful outcome for us and we appreciate your attention to detail and all of the detective work that you do.


Welcome to our New national representative and Closing Remarks

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new C.U.P.E. National Representative Gina Gignac. 

In a short time she has shown that she is no stranger to hard work.   She has been instrumental in assisting us with many issues the least of which is a current copy of our Collective Agreement which encompassed all changes and also the contents of Air Canada’s Collective Agreement that we may have been unaware of.

In the coming months we will be increasingly depending on Gina to assist us with Level II hearings and the implementation of the new grievance database.  We are grateful to have her and will be benefitting from her vast experience. 


Closing Remarks

This report is very close to the holiday season and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members for their hard and often unrewarded work on the “front lines”.  We would like to extend best wishes to them.  May you and your families enjoy a safe and fulfilling holiday season.


In solidarity,


Theresa Mitchell
Chairperson, Component Grievance Committee


Carmela Iermieri
Member, Component Grievance Committee

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