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

President's Message – February 2008

At our recent quarterly executive meeting in Vancouver the four CUPE National Staff Representatives worked with the executive to resolve internal conflicts for the good of the Union and the members.  All parties agreed to concentrate on the business for the go forward.  Additionally, the executive agreed to:

  • Use the phone more often and reduce the mind numbing number of emails
  • Streamline meeting procedures so that meetings are more efficient    
  • Be respectful to each other at all times
  • Make every effort to achieve consensus
  • Establish a weekly conference call to keep in better touch.

Although the past cannot be erased, I am pleased to say this attempt at reconciliation was largely successful.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that, contrary to popular belief, the Union has not imploded.  The Committees, CUPE National Staff Representatives, our assigned CUPE lawyer and CUPE researcher, our other hired lawyers, professionals and consultants, have all been working diligently with the elected officers to deal with the business at hand.   Contract violations are being fought, grievances filed, and Arbitrations argued.  For example, approximately 600 grievances have been filed in the last year. 

Violations grieved include:

  • Illegal move-ups to in-charge (Article 5.12)
  • Crew rest unit failure (LOU 18 + 22)
  • Withholding retroactive pay (Joliffe wage readjustment award)
  • Not providing crew rest seats (last sold seats LOU 27)
  • Company’s unilateral reduction of meal allowances (Article 7.02)
  • Denial of 21 VSPs (LOU – schedule 2)
  • Cr
  • ewing to load (Article B.11)
  • Duty period limitations (Article B.5)
  • December LOA’s / PBS awards

Other areas where the Union continues to fully operate include:

  • Blocking committees which supervise block awards and contests
  • Health and safety which defends the health and safety of members
  • EAP which provides counseling
  • Hotel committee continues to do site inspections and monitors problem areas
  • PBS Joint committee continues to develop and make improvements to the PBS system
  • Disability plans which are administered and paid out
  • The provision of information and assistance to members on a countless variety of topics such as pension, benefits, VSP, WIP, WSIB, the Collective Agreement, etc. by bulletin, our website, and from your Local elected Officers and committee members, and so on …

Over the last year the Union’s accomplishments have included the following:

§  Pushed for the completion of phase 1 and initiation of phase 2 PBS improvements

§  Provision of fixes for many members with legitimate PBS block award contests

§  Negotiated common language in AC and CAIL pension plans

§  Negotiated allowance of pension buybacks for many members who missed timelines and did not fulfill other bureaucratic requirements

§  Facilitation of compassionate transfers and compassionate leave requests for many members

§  Development and implementation of new grievance resolution process at level 2

§  Settlement of many block rule/meal allowance grievances in favour of the members

§  Achieved Dublin vs. Shannon layovers

§  Achieved reduction in LHR pickup times

§  Reserve crew members ability to fly 100 hrs under the Voluntary Extension Award Process

§  In the process of achieving a Domestic meals MOS to improve the quality of meals and the payment of allowances similar to the Overseas Meal Memorandum of Settlement

§  Negotiated an MOS with the Company providing for substantially increased pay for Union Officers under Article 20 of the Collective Agreement, thus providing a significant incentive for members to run for these positions in the future

§  Encouraged members to run and fill the vacant Component Trustee positions

§  Ongoing education/union courses for Officers & Committee Representatives

§  Put purchase of CUPE office building on a legal basis secured by a trust agreement for our members

§  Defended many members in discharge cases and achieved the reinstatement of both permanent and temporary employees who had been discharged

§  Implemented paperless communication with the membership resulting in a savings of approximately $80,000 over a 2 year term

§  Set up a Component President Blog on the ACC website

§  Ongoing improvements to the ACC website

§  Initiated negotiation for a new rehab/return to work policy for members on disability leave (ongoing)

§  Initiated process to put in place CREWSWARE (a software program which will give cabin crew the capability to better organize their work lives if they choose to subscribe to the program) for cabin crew (ongoing)

I would like to thank you all for your support through these difficult times and I look forward to working with you and the executive in a more effective and cooperative manner for the remainder of the year, and into the future.  We now have to set our sights on the Employer and improving our working conditions in 2009.

In unity,


Lesley Swann

President, Air Canada Component of CUPE