HALIFAX: Air Canada flight attendants are Pushing Back against the airline’s plans to close flight attendant bases and terminate hundreds of jobs.
According to the union, these cuts and closures will have a devastating impact on passengers, employees, their families and ultimately on their communities.
On July10th, Air Canada management notified flight attendants that they are “redundant” and “surplus” and would be laid off in November. Potentially, 600 of the union’s 7,200 members could be affected by the company’s action.
Since then, the union has launched a campaign to fight the cuts and the closures. Numerous politicians and thousands of individuals have lobbied federal officials to intervene on behalf of the flight attendants. Support rallies will take place across Canada simultaneously in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
Monday, July 28th 2:00 pm
Grand Parade Square
Speakers at the rally will include:
o Alexa McDonough, Member of Parliament
o Peter Kelly, Mayor of Halifax
o Darrell Dexter, Leader Nova Scotia NDP Party
o Danny Cavanagh, President CUPE Nova Scotia
o Bill Dooks, MLA, Minister of Tourism
o Rick Clarke, President, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour
Contacts: Lisa Vivian Anthony, President of CUPE Local 4090, phone (902) 430-6548
Go to www.cupe.ca for background information.
Note: Flight attendants will be available for interviews.
Air Canada Base Closures and Flight Attendant Layoffs
o The company plans to cut attendant bases in Winnipeg and Halifax, leaving bases in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. The threatened layoffs would affect about 144 CUPE flight attendants in Winnipeg and another 187 in Halifax, plus 300 others in Vancouver.
o Air Canada has requested an exemption from the requirements of the Canada Labour Code - sections 214 to 226, Division IX, Part III. These provisions allow for workers to address their concerns when there are major layoffs proposed by an employer. Federal Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn has notified the parties involved that he will investigate this request and will rule on it by July 30th. The union has argued that there is no justification for the exemption.
o Politicians have been asked to write to Minister of Labour to intervene on behalf of the Air Canada employees. Already letters have gone from a number of MPs and thousands of e-mails have been sent from the travelling public.
o The union requested the ‘base viability study’ that Air Canada conducted after they decided to close the two attendant bases. The company has claimed the attendant bases are no longer needed by the airline. The airline has refused to release the results of this secret study.
o The airline was fully privatized in 1989. In 2000, Air Canada acquired Canadian Airlines International. The largest private sector owner of the airline is ACE Aerospace Holdings, of Toronto.
o Last year, Robert Milton, President and CEO of ACE Aviation earned a $1.2 million salary, a $3.9 million bonus and $11.2 million in stock option gains from Air Canada. He posted $23.1 million in option gains since ACE was created in October of 2004, after Air Canada exited bankruptcy protection.
o During two rounds of court-ordered bargaining in 2003 and 2004 when Air Canada was in bankruptcy protection, flight attendants took a 13.5% wage cut as well as significant benefit cuts.
o After Air Canada acquired Canadian Airlines in 2000, the flight attendant workforce of 8,500 was cut to 7,200 today - a loss of 1,300 positions. The current plan to layoff about 600 flight attendants will reduce the number working for Air Canada to about 6,600.
o The Winnipeg flight attendant base is the oldest for the airline. Trans-Canada Air Line was started in 1937 and the Winnipeg base was the first established for flight attendants.
Daniela Scarpelli, CUPE National Representative – 1-416-458-0588
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications – 1-204-942-0343 or 1-204-333-5065