CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary Treasurer Claude Généreux issued the following statement today outlining measures CUPE will take to support our CAW sisters and brothers currently negotiating with Air Canada.
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Tonight at midnight (June 13, 2011), CAW members representing ticket agents at Air Canada will be in a position to commence strike action after months of frustrating negotiations. At issue are employer concessions on pensions, as well as Air Canada’s proposal to establish a new low cost carrier.
As you know, our union represents almost 7,000 flight attendants who are also in a difficult round of bargaining; our group is currently in conciliation and will be in a legal strike position in August. CUPE’s Air Canada Component has written us and asked us to observe the CAW picket lines, which we of course have every intention of doing. Air Canada will run the airline using scabs and electronics to perform the work of CAW members. While flight attendants are required by law to attend to work, they will support CAW members on their picket lines and will not perform any of the duties of our sisters and brothers on the picket line.
Until further notice our union will not fly Air Canada under any circumstances. We have instructed W.E. Travel to suspend all air travel bookings for the duration of the strike.
We must consider travel options other than flying. Where necessary, we will use other unionized carriers for essential travel, but we must stress this will only be on a very limited basis. It is not appropriate and not an option for our union to switch to non-union carriers such as WestJet. We will support CAW members and indeed any of Air Canada’s unions who take strike action. This will of course pose some inconvenience, which is a small price to pay for fairness for all Air Canada workers.
In the days ahead we will be communicating decisions regarding upcoming CUPE events that ordinarily require air travel. In addition, please watch our web page for updates and for directions on how you might communicate your support for Air Canada workers to the airline and appropriate politicians.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated support. Our unity is our strength and we must support CAW members, our own members, and indeed all Air Canada workers with their current struggle.