OTTAWA -Canada’s largest union is calling on the federal government to treat workers at Air Canada fairly, and to stop giving the airline an upper hand in contract negotiations.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents over 6,800 flight attendants at Air Canada, is offering its full support to other unions at the airline now facing unwarranted and unnecessary intervention by Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt in their collective bargaining rights.
“Minister Raitt has made it very clear whose side the federal government is on when it comes to Air Canada. At each and every turn, the Minister has done all she can to make sure the airline gets what it wants in its negotiations with its workers,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “Minister Raitt needs to get out of the way, stop impeding the rights of Air Canada workers to free collective bargaining, and stop doing the dirty work for Air Canada management.”
Minister Raitt has referred current unresolved contract disputes between the Air Canada Pilots Association and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers with the airline to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, in the guise of asking the CIRB to determine if the bargaining impasses – and possible work stoppages - constitute a health and safety risk to the Canadian public.
“This is the same ruse Minister Raitt attempted with CUPE flight attendant members last fall. It was an abuse of power then, and it’s still wrong now,” said Jeff Taylor, president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE. “With the odds so stacked against them, it’s no wonder workers are rejecting Air Canada’s unreasonable proposals at the bargaining table.”
CUPE is pledging its support and solidarity to all unions at Air Canada, and hopes freely negotiated solutions between workers and the airline can be reached.