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

President's Message – July 2008

Since Air Canada’s announcement of layoffs and base closures, your Component Executive, CUPE National Representatives, and our Legal Counsel have been utilizing every resource available, into fighting this devastating news and we are looking into every possible avenue of redress for our members.  We are here to support you every step of the way and we will leave no stone unturned in the preservation of your rights.

On July 9, 2008 Air Canada announced the base closures of Halifax and Winnipeg.  This is devastating news for our members in these two communities.  Families will be uprooted and taken away from the place they call home and lives will be forever changed.  Air Canada offers only relocation with no compensation and does so without a blink of an eye.  Cost cutting and sustaining profitability is the name of Air Canada’s game, nothing more, nothing less.

The Union requested that Air Canada provide the Union with the details of their base viability study and they have refused to share this valuable information. This attitude is simply appalling.  The lack of transparency is very concerning. Why won’t Air Canada share this information?

We are working very closely with CUPE National and are joining forces in our lobbying effort and public education campaign.  CUPE National is 100% behind us in this fight and has offered us their resources. We have issued several joint media press releases on the base closures and layoffs and will continue to educate the public about the impact Air Canada’s announcement and decision will have in the affected communities.

Your Union has also initiated several actions and will continue to issue updates to you on a regular basis, specifically we have attended special membership meetings in Halifax and Winnipeg, we have met with officials at the Minister of Labour’s Office, and are now in the process of trying to set up a meeting with the Minister himself.  Keep your eye out for continuing press releases as well as interviews in the media.  My message across the country is only one, “Air Canada, we are pushing back”.

On July 28, 2008, a system wide rally will occur.  We will be providing you with further details of time(s) and locations of this event.  Your participation is vital.  If you are in one of the cities where a rally is taking place, be there!  Bring your colleagues, families, and friends.  This is our opportunity to show Air Canada that we are united and we will fight for our rights and our jobs!!!

A page dedicated to “Base Closures/Layoffs” will be available on our Component website (  As well also visit the CUPE National website ( for additional information on our lobbying efforts and “Fight Back” campaigns.

Division IX of the Canada Labour Code

As you are aware, Air Canada is seeking an exemption to Division IX.  The Union has responded to the Company’s request for an exemption by sending a letter to the Minister outlining the reasons why he should not grant the exemption.  In addition, we have met with officials from the government to present our position and have also submitted a thorough brief which clearly explains our position.  The government of Canada must not deny us our rights under the Code.

If you would like to read Division IX, go to, choose your language, then click on “Search Canada’s Consolidated Statutes and Regulations”, which is found down the left side of the page.  Then click on “Statutes by Title” located on the left side of the page.  Then click on “C” from the alphabetical list.  Scroll down until you find “Canada Labour Code”, and click on this link.  The table of Contents for the “Canada Labour Code” will appear.  Scroll down the list until you find “Division IX: Group Termination of Employment”, and click on this link and it will take you to the definition of “Division IX”, which starts at Article 211 until Article 229.  Waiver application of “Division IX” can be found under Article 228(d).

It is crucially important that everyone, all of our members, at every base, all of our families and friends, assist us in our fight to preserve our rights both under the Code and Collective Agreement.

We are calling on all of you to contact the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn and urge him not to grant Air Canada’s exemption.  We need your help without delay.  The Minister can be reached by telephone at (819) 953-5646, by fax at (819) 994-5168, and by e-mail at  We are also calling members at home with this information. 

In addition, we urge you to contact your Local, Provincial and Federal Members of Parliament and request their assistance in preventing Air Canada’s exemption to the Code.

In support of our members in Vancouver, your Component Officers will be attending the Vancouver Special Membership Meeting on July 22, 2008.

In closing, rest assured that your Union will vigorously pursue all necessary actions required to fight Air Canada every step of the way.  Air Canada must treat Flight Attendants with the respect and dignity that is deserved; nothing less is acceptable.  Together we are a powerful voice.  


In unity,


Lesley Swann

President, Air Canada Component of CUPE