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

OBSM Discipline Removal

As you are likely aware, Air Canada introduced a unique twist on the OBSM Program, this one pointed towards our Flight Attendants specifically. As a part of this program, many of our members who could not measure up to their standards received letters of discipline.

The Union has been consistently providing written reports to the employer and their representatives of the negative effects this program was having on our members. These reports were sent each and every week that an issue arose. We also reminded the employer of the commitment they had previously made to a model that included coaching. We vehemently protested their approach to this program and advised them of our view that coaching should be constructive, hands on, discussed with the individual, and open for feedback.

In an interesting turn of events this week, the members who had second assessments and had “Achieved Expectations,” received letters from the Company notifying them that their letters of discipline would be removed from their performance record. The employer went on to say that the goal of the program was to offer support in providing “consistently excellent service.” It would be an understatement to say that those assessed under this program did not feel supported in any way. These members had already been providing consistently excellent service for as long as they had been working as flight attendants within our ranks.

We have been inundated with members writing in, calling, and stopping by the local offices with concerns over how the program was rolled out, what has been happening with OBSMs, and the discipline that had been imposed.

It is our view that this program has consistently failed to achieve its stated goals and intentions. The Company again has missed the mark on increasing brand awareness, setting us up for success, and creating a culture of support leading to “consistently excellent service.”

While we may be pleased that the unwarranted discipline has been removed, we remain puzzled by this “good news.” It leaves us to wonder why the discipline was ever imposed in the first place. As a Union, and with the support of each of you, we are standing strong on this front, and this is yet another example from the employer that they have recognized their error and corrected it after multiple interactions with the Union.

When will Air Canada see that our members are their greatest asset and that we already offer consistently excellent service? It would be a better approach to provide support and recognise that the things keeping us from achieving excellence are often well beyond our control.

How often do we board an aircraft that is not prepared? Flights are often missing equipment, missing meals, and have faulty and/or absent service items and amenities for us to exceed the expectations the Company wants.  This includes an atmosphere of time constraints, limited crew members, and damaged or INOP equipment.  To add insult to injury, some segments have set parameters so high that we are often set to limit service to get contractual breaks or forfeit breaks altogether due to the aircraft operating on some routes. We are consistently told to give, yet when we want basic entitlements, like a place to rest on the A330, or full breaks on the LOU22B flights that are “adjusted,” we are denied that courtesy.

We will continue to challenge the aspects of this program that have created a negative environment. This program has added much fire to you all, the support for the Union along with everyone mobilizing has been strong and noted. There is no better time like the present to stand behind one another. The OBSM programs have built unprecedented solidarity within our union, as our members all stand together against these programs. Please continue to reach out to your Locals and to the Component with any concerns or questions you may have.

In Solidarity,

Wesley Lesosky
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE