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

President's Message – October 2008


The Company has released initial statistics on the amount of layoffs.  There were 106 voluntary layoffs and 84 involuntary layoffs.  The number of layoffs will decrease as the Company goes through mitigation options awarded to members on inactive status.  To further mitigate, the Keller Award states that where there are insufficient leaves to fully mitigate the layoffs, the parties can agree to further offering of leaves.

We have now requested that Air Canada offer more leaves to further mitigate the layoffs.

Also, the Union’s position is that the 21 denied VSP applications, once awarded, should also go towards mitigating the layoffs, and we have requested that Air Canada do so.

Members who have Exercised their Right to Bump

Please welcome all our members to their new bases in solidarity.  It is an extraordinarily challenging and emotional time for our brothers and sisters in YHZ, YWG and YVR who have had to make life altering decisions in a very short time frame.  Do not allow Air Canada’s decisions to affect our strength and compassion.

Severance Pay Under Article 19.07

In 1978, the Union negotiated severance pay into the Collective Agreement.  Article 19.07 has never been activated in the past, so we are entering new territory.  The Union asserts that upon being laid off, our members are entitled to this severance pay and of course, Air Canada is in disagreement.

Article 19.07 states:

Severance Pay: An employee with twenty-four (24) or more months of continuous service whose  service is terminated as a result of staff reduction shall be entitled to one (1) week’s pay for each full year of service, up to a maximum of twelve (12) weeks’ pay.  Severance pay shall be based on the average monthly earnings of the last twelve (12) full calendar months prior to the effective date of severance.

By virtue of Section 235 and Regulation 30 of the Canada Labour Code, the minimum standard for severance pay for employees who have recall rights pursuant to a collective agreement is that severance is paid where the layoff is more than three (3) months but not more than twelve (12) months.  Any layoff greater than twelve (12) months is a termination of the employee’s employment for the purpose of Section 235, and therefore, automatically attracts severance.  In our opinion, Article 19.07 applies the same way.

We believe that Article 19.07 reflects the intent under the Code, and as such entitles our members to severance pay, and we have indicated this to Air Canada.  The Union is awaiting Air Canada’s response.

Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) – Herman Arbitration Award

As previously reported to you, Arbitrator Herman released his decision on October 14, 2008 upholding the Union’s interpretation of the governing principle.

What does this mean and how does it affect you?

The governing principle of the program is that “a maximum number of VSPs shall be granted”. Therefore, in any given year when the uptake is more than 250, Air Canada must properly consider ways to grant a maximum amount over and above 250.  It cannot pre-determine and limit to 250.

In 2007, the total amount of applicants was 271, 21 over Air Canada’s pre-determined limit of 250.  The Arbitrator ruled that Air Canada did not properly consider granting these VSPs and directed Air Canada to now extend the offer to the 21 eligible applicants.

This decision concludes the phase of the VSP arbitration dealing with the general principle and the 21 VSPs that were denied.

The VSP arbitration will continue with the 2008 VSP denials of which there are approximately 100.  Air Canada again applied the amount of 250 as a limitation and did not consider ways to offer more than 250.  The hearings for the 2008 phase are set for Sunday November 9, 2008 and Sunday November 16, 2008.

VSP Clawback

The Company refuses to do the calculation for the VSP clawback as ordered by Arbitrator Martin Teplitsky, citing that certain conditions under the formula have not been met.  The Union has conducted its own calculations of the wage increase owed to our members (1 – 1.5%) and will be presenting this to Arbitrator Teplitsky in due course.

Crew Expenses

Article 7.02 of the Collective Agreement, addresses meal allowances paid at layover stations, and more specifically Article 7.02.03 addresses locations other than Canada and the United States.

When the Canadian dollar is high, our meal allowances are adjusted downward; conversely when the Canadian dollar is low, our meal allowances should be adjusted upward.  This adjustment is based on a 5% change on the basis of a six (6) month running average plus or minus.

Please be advised that we are monitoring the value of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar.  If it continues in its current downward trend, during the next few months, we will ensure Air Canada adjusts the meal allowances accordingly.


These flights are scheduled to begin in December 2008.  The first non-stop return flight from EZE to YYZ was scheduled for November 30, 2008, and the Company had not blocked this flight in accordance with Article B14 of the Collective Agreement, nor its own crewing to load charts.  The scheduled flight time is 11:35hrs, and therefore, according to the Company’s crewing to load chart, it is blocked for eight (8) crewmembers of which two (2) must be In-Charges (international flight with flight time greater than 11:30 hrs).

I wrote to Michael Nicholas, Director of Crew Planning & Scheduling and requested this be rectified immediately.  The Company conceded it is a B14 flight and crewed the November 30 pairing with an extra In-Charge, however, they contend it falls under the crewing to load chart in accordance with South America, which is blocked for six (6) crew.  The Union argues that the International greater than or equal to 11:30 is the chart to follow.

Bargaining Survey

The Component Executive will be convening for our regular quarterly meeting on November 4, 5, 6, and 7, 2008.  We will be discussing the next steps in the production and membership distribution of the 2009 Bargaining Survey.

Rumours, Rumours, Rumours…..

With the recent layoffs and base closures, and as we march towards negotiations in 2009, rumours will be rampant.  In order to remain focused, strong and united, we must not listen to fabricated hearsay.  For clarification on any subject or issue, please feel free to contact me by e-mail, telephone, website blog or drop

by our Belfield office any time.  My e-mail address is and my telephone number is (416)798-3399 Ext. 236.

Wear Your CUPE Pin!

As a show of solidarity and unity, I urge you all to wear your CUPE pin.  Divisive tactics and competitive strategies by the Employer are beginning and will most likely continue through bargaining.  Now is the time to

make it known that
you will not tolerate these tactics.  We are more than 6,500 strong!  Wear your CUPE Pin!

Component Committee Appointments

Deborah Gauthier, PBS Joint Committee (replacing Bruno Di Giulio)

Nicole Betournay, PBS Tester

Sign up for Electronic Bulletins

In January 2008, Component Bulletins, for the most part, went paperless.  In order to receive up to date information, please sign up now and receive your bulletins electronically.  Our distribution list has increased to approx. 4,600 members, up from 3,200 in January 2007.  We have approx. 6,500 members.  Please keep informed.  Knowledge is Power!

To sign on for electronic bulletins, please go to and click on the “Join Our Email List” link on the left. 

A limited number of paper copies are still available at your Local Union Office and in the Communication Centres.

In unity,

Lesley Swann

President, Air Canada Component of CUPE

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