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

President's Message – November 2007

1. Newly elected Component Vice-President

I am very pleased to welcome Brother Nick Beveridge, newly elected Component Vice-President to our team of Executives. Nick brings with him his valued knowledge in such areas as pensions, labour relations, Collective Agreement interpretation, bargaining and negotiations to name but a few. I am very much looking forward to working closely with Nick in the coming months.

2.  Rumours

     Seniority Integration: It has come to our attention that some of you may still be concerned about the seniority integration of ex CAIL and original Air Canada flight attendants.  As Component Officers we would like to assure you that we are here to represent all our members equally and it is absolutely not on our agenda to reconsider the aforementioned seniority integration.  The issue has been arbitrated and an appeal has been dismissed at the Federal Court of Canada.

    Lets: Another misperception that seems to exist is that of Collective Agreement “lets.”  Lets are mid-term changes to the Collective Agreement that are agreed to by the employer and the Union.  Generally, lets are frowned upon as the terms of a Collective Agreement are voted on and accepted by the Union membership for a prescribed period of time.  On occasion lets may be necessary but only under extraordinary circumstances.  We would like to assure you that no lets have been granted under this administration.  PBS process changes, such as language uncoupling, award window for reserves, and blocking window parameters are fluid and subject to further change under the terms of the Collective Agreement.  Once PBS testing is completed and the results are accepted as satisfactory by both the Union and the Company, only then will these and other PBS items be considered as permanent and be incorporated into the Collective Agreement.

    Crew Complement: The Company has confirmed today in writing that they have no plans to reduce the crew complement on any European flights.

3.  Pension Buybacks

     We would like to remind all members that the deadline for pension buyback applications is November 30 2007. Additionally, once you have received your buyback enrolment form you have 60 days from the date in the enrolment package to return your buyback enrolment form.

4.  PBS

     A separate PBS update will be published in the near future.

5.  LHR Issues

     The LHR transport situation is horrible and the Union is exploring all avenues to try to resolve it.  The Company advises that the main problem is the excess amount of time it takes for the British authorities to screen crews at their “control post” or out of the terminal security site. 

     The Company identified approximately 3 delays a week of London departures out of approximately 70 flights a week that can be attributed to late arrivals of the crew.  The Union has pointed out that the transport Company is picking up multiple crews which significantly extends the length of the trip to the airport and that the buses are often crowded, old and  uncomfortable.  The Union has requested one bus per crew. 

    The Union has asked that crews be able to check in using terminal security lines.  The Company responded that they might consider doing so for a limited number of flights but only if the pilots agreed to follow the same procedure and only if permitted to do so by the British authorities.  To date the pilots have rejected checking in at the terminal preferring the current system.  The Company informed the Union that the British authorities requested United Airlines, who has been checking in at the terminal for many years, to switch over to the control post site.  The Company advised that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that the extended pick up time was caused by Robert Milton complaining that late arrival of the crew had caused his flight to be delayed.  The Company has traveled to LHR to meet with the transport Company to address the above and other issues and is planning another visit in the next month or so. 

     The Company advised that there are few, if any alternatives, to the current transport Company, as the smaller competitors are not able to handle large operations such as Air Canada’s.  The Company has advised that they expect the situation with British security at the airport to get even worse.  The Company has advised that BA crews will at some point in the future check in at the new terminal 5, and the possibility exists that some Star Alliance carriers may also be able to check in at terminal 5.     

     The Union will continue to monitor the issue and to push for a return to the 2 and ½ hr pick up time for all flights.  The Company has advised that it will attempt to track, through a form provided to our in-charges, which specific flights are more susceptible to delays because of late crew arrival, with the goal of reducing the pick up time for other flights. 

6.  Bargaining

     Bargaining will begin some time before June 2009 and the Component Executive has already met to discuss our bargaining strategy and where to begin.  A bulletin will be distributed shortly providing you more details.

7.  Grievance Database

     The Union is investigating a new data system to store grievance information (Collective Agreement articles, arbitration awards, precedent-setting grievances, relevant Company policy) to make it easier for Union Officers to provide information to the membership and to defend your interests.  Adoption of a new system will, obviously, depend on finding a suitable system and cost.  The Component VP and the Staff Office Manager hope to meet with the pilots to view their system.

8.   Union Structure

      Some of you may wonder how the Union makes decisions.  The By-laws govern how this happens.  On matters concerning the Collective Agreement and bargaining, the entire Component Executive (made up of the Component President, Component Vice-President and Component Secretary-Treasurer, as well as all 6 Local Presidents) work together to come to a consensus.  Each Local President has a vote, as does the Component Vice-President and the Component Secretary-Treasurer.  The Component President offers counsel, leadership, etc. and offers a tie-breaking vote. The Component Officers have jurisdiction over Component Committees (e.g. Component Grievance Committee, Joint PBS Committee) and Local Presidents have jurisdiction over their respective Local Committees (e.g. Local PBS Committee).  Budgets are developed and administered separately.  The Component Officers and the Local Presidents work cohesively to ensure the smooth and effective running of the Union.

For further details, log
on to the AC Component website where you can view the Component By-laws.

9.    Other Issues

   There are dozens of other major issues that the Union is currently dealing with including:

o   Meal allowances,

o   PBS audit,

o   Late payment problems,

o   Merger of the CAIL and AC pension plans,

o   New WSIB procedures, etc.

Please read your Union bulletins, consult the Union website, and attend local meetings for information on these and other topics.

10.  Labour Relations at Level 2 Grievance Hearings with the Employer

  Both the Union and the Company agree that under the terms of the Collective Agreement it is mutually beneficial for both parties to try and settle grievances promptly. The Union’s main objective at these meetings with the Employer is to have a resolve in favour of our members at this step of the grievance process.  The Union is pleased to report that almost 99% of small individual monetary grievances are being settled 100% in favour of our members.

11.  VSP Grievance Update

  The Company has denied 21 members the VSP.  As a result the matter is going to arbitration.  The Union position is that more than 250 VSPs should be offered per year.  It will be up to the arbitrator to determine how many VSPs will be offered.  The Union advises members to apply for the VSP in 2008, notwithstanding the current Company position. 

12. 2008 Pocket Agenda/Calendar

  The 2007 pocket agenda / calendar proved to be very popular. Production of the pocket 2007 pocket agenda / calendar is underway. The main theme of the 2008 edition will be Unity =  Strength.  The pocket agenda / calendar will contain many short anecdotes discussing past collective agreement changes and other significant events pertaining to bargaining in the airline industry.  We hope to have these distributed to you by the end of December 2007.

 13.  Component Website Changes/Additions

 As 2008 approaches, the rumour mill will be rampant.  I have come up with a website link called  “The Debunking Room” which will be a secure site and well away from management eyes.  The    Debunking Room will be used to nip false rumours in the bud and confirm those that are true.

14. Paperless Communications

   We will cease paper bulletin communication by December 31 2007. A small amount of paper   bulletins will still be available via the communication centres and the local Union offices. I am also pleased to report that we now have approx. 4,400 members signed on to receive electronic   bulletins. This number is up approximately 900 members since January 2007. We urge you to sign up for your electronic bulletins ASAP, as contact with the membership will be vital during bargaining. To sign on, go to and click on the “Join Our Email List” link on the left. 

15. Electronic Communications

      In an attempt to address concerns received from you that it was difficult opening PDF files, the Component tried issuing bulletins in various other formats, i.e. text, word and jpg. Unfortunately, each format came with its own set of problems. In view of this, a decision has been made to revert back to issuing the bulletins in PDF. We thank you for your patience in this matter.

 We would like to remind all members that officially sanctioned Union bulletins are always issued on Union CUPE/SCFP letterhead.  Other electronic bulletins may not be accurate.  Contact your Union for accurate information. 

16. World Aids Day – December 1

 December 1st marks another World Aids Day.  The United Nations campaign to stop AIDS started in 1988, yet the incidence of HIV/AIDS continues to increase.  The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “leadership”. The campaign calls on all sectors of society including trade Unions to take initiative and provide leadership on AIDS issues.  It provides members and locals with an opportunity to publicly re-commit to taking action in the HIV/AIDS fight.  What can you do?  Make a financial contribution, join the global fight, lobby the federal government to live up to its commitment to supply inexpensive drugs to developing countries and wear a red ribbon.

In unity,


Lesley Swann

President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

Related News

Pink Shirt Day 2024

As the sun sets on Pink Shirt Day 2024, let us carry forward the spirit of unity and compassion that defined today’s observance. Let us

Read More »