Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
OTTAWA – Canada’s largest union has come out swinging at the federal transport minister for his inaction in the face of Air Canada’s financial crisis.

Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said David Collenette “seems content to hand over Canadian airline policy to Robert Milton and the New York bankers.”

CUPE represents 8,000 flight attendants at Air Canada.

Calling the terms of Air Canada’s bankruptcy protection “an all-out attack on the livelihood, future security and ability of our members to earn enough to support their families,” Darcy condemned Collenette for “standing on the sidelines with a grin on his face, recycling the myth that the private sector has the matter in hand.”

“This is the same minister who fiddled while Canada 3000 burned,” said Darcy. “We’re tired of the posturing. We want action now.”

CUPE is calling for federal leadership on four key questions: proper regulation; a reduction in user fees for airlines and passengers; support to help Air Canada weather the drop in passengers because of the Iraq war and the SARS outbreak; and immediate action to guarantee pensions for Air Canada employees.

“We should not be panicked into a wholesale dismantling of the national flagship airline because of a short-term dip in the balance sheet,” said Darcy.

Pam Sachs, president of CUPE’s Air Canada component, promised the union would do everything in its power to defend members’ jobs, wages and pensions.

“We don’t believe the central problem at Air Canada is labour costs,” she said. “And we don’t believe that slashing wages or working conditions of flight attendants are in the airline’s interest – or the public interest.”

“The problems faced by Air Canada arise from mismanagement, excess capacity in the airline industry and excessive user fees,” said Sachs. “The solutions lie in a regulatory framework that is predictable, rational and designed to create the type of airline industry that Canadians need and want.”


For further information,
Kaj Hasselriis, CUPE Communications
613-237-1590 ext. 268 - 613-798-6925 (cell)
Simon Blackstone, Air Canada component