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

President's Message – October 2007

AD/CUPE Convention

The Airline Division (AD) Conference and CUPE Convention took place in Toronto last week.  All CUPE Airline Components (Air Canada, Air Transat, First Air, Calm Air, and Cathay Pacific) were represented at the AD Conference on Sunday.  Canjet union representatives also attended.  They were officially introduced to the Airline Division via a by-law amendment that was unanimously passed.  Welcome Canjet!  The AD Conference is held every 2 years and is a wonderful opportunity for delegates from all CUPE airlines to meet and discuss issues that impact us as a group. 

Over 2000 delegates attended the CUPE Convention, the largest Convention ever.  Many issues were debated, especially those of equality and women’s representation in leadership positions in CUPE.  The Northwest Territories was finally added to the CUPE Constitution.  This is positive for First Air Flight Attendants who have a split base in Edmonton and Yellowknife.  Airline delegates spoke several times at the microphones and always managed to bring the identity of Airlines to the other delegates.  We know that with enough visibility we will one day manage to retain a seat on the National Executive Board (NEB – CUPE’s governing body).  We had an amazing week of solidarity and we look forward to attending the 2009 CUPE Convention.

Voluntary Separation Program Grievance Update – CHQ-06-64

Arbitrator Teplitsky has ruled that the VSP grievance be moved to full arbitration. 21 of our members were denied the VSP by the Company under the premise that the total amount of VSPs offered cannot exceed 250 in any of the given years. The Union argues that the interpretation of “at least” 250 obligates the Company to reasonably offer more than 250 should the need arise. 

Also in the Schedule 2 letter outlining the VSP program it states: “A governing condition of this program is that the number of VSPs granted will be limited to prevent a partial termination of a pension plan.  The parties agree to utilize all alternative methods at no additional cost to the Company, to avoid a partial termination of a pension plan and/or a limit on VSPs granted. “

Obviously the company is reading only the parts of the Collective Agreement that are convenient as it pertains to the VSP. Their reasoning is known only to themselves, however it is likely to prevent Air Canada crew from ever realizing the wage increases that would result from the savings this program would provide. Because of this, arbitration of this matter is definitely on the horizon.

Moving Up of F/As to In-Charge – CHQ-07-21

This grievance was heard at Level II with the Company on October 11 2007. Our documentation supporting the Union’s position on this issue is extensive thanks to the diligent work of the Toronto Local in collecting over 6 months of data.

The Company cannot, in good faith, deny that a very high percentage of moved up F/As has been done in complete violation of Article 5.12 of the Collective Agreement, whereby it states:

Article 5.12 – Reclassification“Where an employee is assigned to operate a flight or flight sequence in another classification, the following shall be applicable:

NOTE: Non-qualified employees will be re-classified only after the provisions of Article B9 – Draft of a qualified employee, have been exhausted.”

The Union is asking for a cease and desist order and a monetary settlement on behalf of all affected employees, as documented. The Company has 14 days to respond. We will advise you of the outcome.

LOU 28 (Letter of Understanding) – Crew Breaks

L28.01 Note: “This clause shall apply to any flight leg of more than 8 hours”.

For further clarity the Union’s interpretation of this clause is any scheduled flight leg of more than 8 hours.

Bargaining Survey for 2009 Negotiations

By mid-November 2007 the Union will begin preparatory discussions on the all important bargaining survey that will be distributed to you shortly thereafter. We urge you to contact your Local Union office with your top priorities for negotiations in 2009.

Once negotiations begin, it will also be imperative that you stay informed as we progress. This is a very important reason to sign up for electronic Component Communications.

Countdown to Paperless Communication

By the end of 2007, the Component is very encouraged that we will be almost completely paperless in our communications to you. This initiative, overwhelmingly supported by you, will not detract from the importance of constant communication and information distributed to you.  We believe that it will enhance it.

Electronic distribution is fast, effective and most of all confidential. The Component urges you to sign up now to receive your bulletins by e-mail. To sign up to go, and click on the “Join Our Email List” link on the left.  We will maintain a small amount of paper bulletins at your local union office and communication centres.

Request to Change Cruise Code 517 to 519

The Union approached the Company to change their practice of automatically coding our members with a 517 – unavailable for duty with fault when absent from work without first investigating the incident.  We suggested an alternative solution of coding a 519 – unavailable for duty, no fault until such time as an investigation proves otherwise.

The answer we received was that it would not be “administratively viable to assign the absence code 519 for those employees who are presently being assigned an absence code of 517.” 

The Union had hoped for a more reasonably co-operative response because under the present system, our members are negatively impacted without the ability to have their voices heard first. It also puts a tremendous burden on CUPE resources as the majority of 517s could be mitigated at the onset.  Unfortunately, each one is of a “disciplinary” nature, which initiates an investigative meeting with management. This is a complete waste of both Union and management resources.   The Union will continue to push this issue in the hopes of a change to this erroneous practice.

Retroactive Pay – Jolliffe Award – CHQ 07-46

The Union has repeatedly requested that the Company correctly apply the retroactive pay as contemplated by Arbitrator Jolliffe’s award in this respect. The Company is applying your pay as of July 03 2007. The correct application is July 01 2007. A policy grievance will be filed.

Retroactive Pay for Those Members on a Leave – CHQ 07-27

The Company is withholding this pay and a relevant grievance was heard at Level II with the Company on October 11 2007. The Company has 14 days to respond. We will advise you of the outcome.

LHR – Pick Up Time Changes

The Company has decided to arbitrarily change the pick up time in LHR from 2.5 hours prior to departure to 3 hours, although they recently reverted back to 2.5 hours for weekends only. Your Union strongly opposes this change and believes it is without justification.  In order to substantiate our opposition, we ask that
you take a moment and document the following:

1.         The time you leave the hotel and arrive at security.

2.         The time you leave security and arrive at the aircraft.

We appreciate your help in submitting this information to your local Union office.

CUPE National Staff Representatives

We are pleased to welcome CUPE National Staff Representative Brother Humberto da Silva to our team.  He has been assigned full time exclusively to assist the Air Canada Component of CUPE.  Humberto comes from an airline background and brings with him extensive knowledge in bargaining/negotiations/mediations and arbitrations and will mostly assist our grievance committee in preparations for bargaining in 2009.

Also assigned to us part-time are Brother Rob Limongelli (Vancouver–Calgary–Winnipeg), Sister Daniela Scarpelli (Toronto) and Brother François Bellemare (Montreal–Halifax).        

We welcome them all and truly appreciate their efforts on behalf of our membership.

CUPE National’s New Address

Effective November 13 2007 CUPE National’s new address is as follows:


Paul Moist, President

1375 St. Laurent Boulevard

Ottawa, Ontario   K1G 0Z7

Telephone and Fax numbers remain the same.

In unity,


Lesley Swann

President, Air Canada Component of CUPE