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TORONTO – Leaders of Ontario’s largest union today condemned federal labour minister Lisa Raitt’s interference in negotiations between Air Canada and flight attendants.

This is such a big issue that we, as leaders of the union’s largest division, feel the need to not only express solidarity with our members in the airline sector, but also to devote time and resources to building support in other sectors across the province,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

This morning at a Division executive meeting in Toronto, CUPE Ontario leaders passed a motion of support for the workers and condemnation of Lisa Raitt’s interference in the bargaining process.

In Canada we have a bargaining process that protects the rights of employers and workers alike, and Lisa Raitt is throwing those rights out the window from the comfort of a first-class seat,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “We completely support the flight attendants in their struggle to get a fair collective agreement. This is a time for negotiations, not a time for the labour minister to begin using average working people as pawns in some bizarre social experiment.”

The executive of CUPE Ontario were in Toronto for meetings this week. This morning the provincial union executive passed a formal motion expressing their solidarity with the flight attendants and their struggle and committed to work with the locals in the province to support the workers in their dispute with Air Canada and to express their disgust with the labour minister’s interference.

The Air Canada Component of CUPE flight attendants have been in negotiations with Air Canada to renew their collective agreement since April 2011. Earlier this week, Lisa Raitt referred questions to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, delaying a legal strike.

The executive of CUPE Ontario, which represents 230,000 working people in Ontario, joins with the national union and labour unions across Canada in condemning in the strongest possible way the federal government’s interference in due process.

For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316