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

President’s Quarterly Report – Spring 2016 – Part 2 of 3

Note: Due to length of this report, it is being presented in 3 parts. To read part 1, please click on the link below:


I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the hundreds of new Flight Attendants who have joined our family across the country! We are thrilled to have so many fresh faces amongst us, and are glad to see the growth that comes with your much-anticipated arrival.

For the past few months, Edith and I have been travelling across the country to give detailed presentations to our newly-hired colleagues. In these presentations, which usually last about 2 hours, we discuss many important items regarding the Flight Attendant career, outline resources our new members have, explore common place issues, provide advice, answer questions, and explain how our Union operates.

So far, we have attended new hire classes for both Mainline and rouge in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, with several more presentations expected in the months ahead. It has been very invigorating for both of us to meet our newest members, and the individual chats we have had with so many of them have been wonderful. They are so enthusiastic about their new adventure, and so very eager to join our ranks, it’s a delightful reminder of how we ourselves first became Flight Attendants, and what led us to continue this career over the years.

The goal for 2016 is to graduate approximately 280 qualified cabin crew per course for a total of 640 new Flight Attendants at Mainline.

NOTE: The 40 new flight attendants in YUL will be filled with base transfers. Most have already transferred (from YYZ) and are now flying.
Our first class of new Service Directors for 2016 graduated last Friday, on April 22nd. Congratulations to all the new Service Directors for completing their training and for taking on a new challenge!
A grand total of 120 new Service Directors will have completed their training by the end of May. We look forward to having them join the Service Director ranks.
We will soon be giving our in-person new hire presentations for our newest rouge colleagues.
The total rouge graduating crew for 2016 is expected to be 425.


The Union’s bargaining priority at the table was a clear and resounding echo voiced by an overwhelming majority of our members, as per the bargaining survey: locking-in long-term job security for all our members. It is very clear that this goal has been achieved, in addition to the numerous other important gains that have been made for all members with our new Collective Agreement. Below you will find the highlights of what we obtained during bargaining:

  • Employment security will apply until the end of the Collective Agreement
  • No layoffs for current mainline employees
  • No base closure 
  • Guaranteed block increase per year + overseas block hour guarantee by base (never negotiated before)
  • Penalty clauses (up to $5,000,000) for violation of the guarantees above
  • All flights operated by ACPA will be crewed by Mainline or rouge (i.e. no wet leasing)
  • “All flights” definition
  • Rouge agreement incorporated as a LOU
  • CUPE will be the sole bargaining agent should another passenger carrier be created
  • Restriction of 50 aircrafts at rouge moved to the CUPE Collective Agreement (i.e. our own Scope Clause)
  • Limitations to the type of aircrafts operated by rouge
  • rouge Premium seats will not be lie flat or pods; rouge service cannot exceed the Mainline premium Y-class service
  • Seniority-driven Flow-through between Mainline and rouge 
  • No forced transfers including layoffs
  • After a reduction at a Mainline base and an employee has no option but to transfer to a rouge vacancy, the Mainline wage rate and benefits will be protected
  • Separate seniority lists for rouge and Mainline, plus construction of a master seniority list, adding rouge to the bottom of seniority list
  • Ability to transfer between companies at least once yearly
  • Current rouge employees entitled to flow through to Mainline when vacancies occur
  • Company paid training, uniforms and luggage if moving to either Company
  • $3,000 annual budget to improve PBS
  • Pensionable $5,000 Lump Sum payment for the first year 
  • 2% pay raise for subsequent years for the duration of the contract


  • B14, LOU 18 and LOU 22 fixed crew complement with 50% short crewing penalty (limited exceptions)
  • Fixed crew complement (1:40 ratio) on all domestic wide body eliminating crewing to load
  • Fixed crew complement (1:40 ratio and all doors covered) on all overseas wide body eliminating crewing to load
  • B787 crew complement
  • 3 crew members on the Embraer with hot meal service, with less than 2 hours
  • 30 minutes additional crew rest on all LOU 18 and LOU 22 flights
  • 1 hour sleep allowed on any scheduled flight leg over 7 hours
  • New bid position for Y galley


  • Paid meal allowance (B/L/D) instead of meals on domestic/transborder pairings
  • Starting at ratification, 2% increase in meal allowance yearly for the duration of the Collective Agreement
  • Automatic DOT
  • B787 Service Director rates same as Service Director operating B777
  • Online training paid at 50% with a one hour minimun
  • Minimum 4 hours pay even if no actual flying time results
  • Automated trip trade system
  • All night flights will not contain more than 2 flight legs – Air Canada will try to secure appropriate crew rest at those Canadian stations
  • Subject to operational requirement option to opt out of reassignment at home base (no pay protection)
  • “Inhumane” pairings will be addressed by the PBS Committee and Air Canada
  • Second Union representative at Central Site to resolve day of flight issues
  • Personal time bank up to 40 hours
  • Bre
    astfeeding LOA with ability to buy back pensionable service
  • C1 family pass when working on Christmas and New years
  • Pension improvement of the YMPE calculation
  • Pension protection of pension status/calculation for transfers from Mainline to rouge
  • Pension members with 85 points can retire with an unreduced pension 
  • Pension $5,000 signing bonus will increase pension payments for many members (every cabin personnel currently working on their best 36 month earning less than $78,334 yearly will receive up to an additional $1020 yearly from the AC pension plan)
  • Massage therapy $800 yearly maximum (max. $80 per visit)
  • Vison care increased from $225 to $325 every 24 consecutive calendar month
  • Air Canada group life insurance increased from $75,000 to $85,000
  • CICO increased from $4.10 to $5.05 
  • Air Canada will pay the $177 passport fees for 10 year passports
  • Reserve will have the ability to restart crew rest when interrupted at home base
  • Reserve 50% premium when assigned flying into your regular day off
  • Reserve increased MMG from 70 hours to 75 hours
  • Duty Period extension premium paid when the employee exceeds on an involuntary basis (includes Reserve)


  • $4,500 lump sum payment paid over 3 years
  • 2% annual wage increase starting April 1, 2018
  • Ability to opt out of being Lead Flight Attendant
  • Bid for Lead Positions within PBS (not implemented)
  • Improved Special Assignment pay structure
  • Working Allowance of $100 per month
  • Increase in Sick Hour bank to 144 hours
  • Twelve hour sick hold
  • Process to contest awarded schedules in PBS
  • Open Flying System (not implemented)
  • Ability to bid up to 5 untouchable days off
  • Procedures for Unexpected Delays
  • Increase in Overseas Crew Rest to 16 hours
  • Crew Rest of 12 hours for Duty Days over 13+ hours to Caribbean, South America and Central America
  • Change of layover hotel in Las Vegas
  • Day Room for airport stopovers greater than 5 hours
  • New airport office for your Local Union representation
  • Last sold seats on all flights, with ability to sleep on flights over 8 hours
  • Discipline Procedures set out in LOU #1
  • Changes to Air Canada rouge Uniform Policy

As part of the 2009 Pension MOU, a Share Trust was established issuing a number of shares equal to 15% of the common shares of Air Canada to all the Air Canada Unions.  Each Union was allocated a percentage of shares based on their share of Air Canada’s pension liabilities.  CUPE was allocated 19.38% of the shares.  The Trust established that the Unions co
uld only sell their shares for pension deficit reduction and that any sale of shares by a Union would be applied to the pension deficits of all Unions.  Furthermore, the Share Trust gave the Unions a representative on the Board of Directors as long as the Share Trust held at least 2% of the common shares of the Company.  
In 2011, the IAMAW requested that its portion of the Share Trust be segregated.  Air Canada and the IAMAW subsequently agreed to the following language in their Collective Agreement:  “If the IAMAW obtains the agreement from the other unions to amend the Income Tax Regulations to allow for the shares held by the IAMAW to be held for the benefit of the New IAMAW Plan, Air Canada will provide their assistance with respect to the request to amend the applicable sections of the Income Tax Regulations and Trust Agreement, provided that any contributions from the Trust remain eligible contributions under applicable tax rules“.
In July, 2014, Scott Morey, then Vice-President, Labour Relations, advised all five Air Canada Unions by letter that the Company was willing to discuss the terms of the 2009 Share Trust.  Specifically, the Company was willing to split the 2009 Share Trust into five separate Trusts, such that each Union would have exclusive control over its own shares.  The letter also raised the possibility for each Union to negotiate future changes with Air Canada regarding the restrictions placed upon the sale of shares from the Trust.
In September, 2015, the Council of Air Canada Unions met to discuss the Share Trust.  As a result of that meeting and further discussions amongst the Unions, the Unions arrived at an amendment to the 2009 Share Trust.   The amendment stipulates the following:

  1. Splitting of the Share Trust into five separate Trusts, as outlined in the Scott Morey letter, meaning that the proceeds of the sale of shares by a Union would be applied only to deficit reduction for that Union’s pension plan. 
  2. The right of each Union to negotiate with Air Canada, other uses than deficit reduction from the proceeds of the sale of shares.
  3. A “me too” clause, as put forward by CUPE, which would make any benefit negotiated by a Union, available to all Unions at each Union’s discretion. 
  4. The Unions retain their representative on the Board of Directors as long as the Share Trust continues to hold at least 2% of the common shares of the Company.

In regards to point 2 above, Air Canada would not have to agree to other uses but with the amendment the Unions would have the right to at least negotiate other uses which they did not have before.  And it is important to keep in mind that prior to the amendment, it is at the sole discretion of each Union whether they sell their shares or not; additionally, a Union may sell only a portion or all of its shares.  
On January 21, 2016, ACPA, on behalf of all the Air Canada Unions, met with Harlan Clark, Director of Air Canada Labour Relations, and Nathalie Henderson, Director of Air Canada Pensions, to present and discuss the above Share Trust amendment.  
On April 5, 2016 the Company replied to the Unions and affirmed its willingness to spilt up the Share Trust into five separate trusts.  The Company also proposed to establish a sixth trust “which would hold shares on behalf of the non-unionized pension plans”.  Lastly, Air Canada rejected part 2 of the Unions’ proposed amendment as something they did not want to pursue at this time.
The Company’s reply is problematic from CUPE’s perspective in several regards.  Firstly, the sixth trust as proposed by the Company seems unreasonable as the original Trust did not contemplate shares for non- unionized pension plans.  To agree to a sixth trust would reduce the shares for the other Trusts which CUPE opposes.  Remember that the Share Trust was in return for the huge pension concessions the Unions made in 2009.  Secondly, the Company’s rejection of part 2 of the Unions amendment is disappointing as acceptance of this part of the amendment would have allowed both CUPE and Air Canada to get some benefit from the sale of shares; a win win for both parties.  Please note, shortly after CUPE received the Company’s April reply, it sought expert opinion on the contents of the reply from Murray Gold, CUPE’s pension expert.  Mr. Gold advised that, for tax reasons, it was likely that the most realistic use for proceeds from the sale of shares other than for deficit reduction would be for a pension improvement.
Notwithstanding CUPE’s concerns about the Company’s reply it may still benefit the Unions to agree to a split of the Share Trust into five separate trusts.  Firstly, any deficit reduction as a result of CUPE selling its shares would go exclusively to the CUPE pension plan.  Secondly, CUPE would maintain its unilateral right to sell its shares at a time of its choosing, which could provide leverage in negotiating a pension improvement from Air Canada in return.  The current Trust would not allow for either of these outcomes.
CUPE and the other Unions must now reply to the Company’s last position.  We will keep you advised of future developments.
Edith and I recently met with Jim Tabor, Vice-President of SOC to discuss how we might improve the relationship between Flight Attendants and Crew Schedulers. We agreed to create an ad-hoc working committee of no more than three representatives representing each group.
We are hopeful that this experiment will help us develop new and better structures and approaches towards improving our mutual working relationship, and allowing both groups to better understand each other’s realities a little better. The Crew Scheduling team will also work towards the same goal. We also hope to identify a number of ‘trigger phrases’ that occasionally tend to escalate emotional reactions ra
ther than respectfully advancing the resolution of an issue. With this initiative, we intend to identify and implement substitutionary phrases, keywords, and dialogue, amongst other solutions towards a better, more respectful long-term working relationship as colleagues rather than opponents.
In addition to our many bulletins and social media updates (, along with an upcoming revamp of our website, we are holding regular monthly live webinars with the membership, all of which are recorded for future viewing. We are also doing in-person base visits every month, meeting with members, taking questions, and listening to feedback. We strongly encourage you to participate in our ongoing interactive and educational webinars, and come and chat with us when we are at your Local base. Our membership is made stronger when we communicate with each other, when we prioritize education, and when we build honest, personal relationships with each other whenever possible.
Our team of Communication Ambassadors is still very much an active part of providing the Union with invaluable feedback, and helping us better distribute news, updates and important information. We are looking at ways towards using the Ambassadors as ongoing spokespeople in providing ground-up feedback to the Company in live meetings, and as such we are hoping to grow the team of Ambassadors and find more participants from all bases. If you are interested in joining the team, please send us an email to
In solidarity,

Michel Cournoyer
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE