As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create turmoil in the airline industry, the union representing flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge is doing everything in its power to protect the health and safety of its 10,000 members.
“Our members are on the front lines of this global crisis, and we are doing all that we can to support them,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
On Monday morning, Lesosky wrote to Air Canada outlining flight attendants’ current concerns regarding health and safety.
“Reducing physical contact between flight attendants and passengers and in-flight service items is critical, and it is the union’s position that all non-essential in-flight service to passengers needs to be minimized going forward,” Lesosky stated. He added that flight attendants should only be interacting with passengers for urgent matters, like medical situations or security situations.
Lesosky also demanded increased availability of personal protective equipment, including medical grade gloves, long-sleeve isolation gowns, N95 masks, and face shields for every flight attendant. Finally, the union is also calling for Air Canada to properly stock every flight with adequate disinfectant and potable water, and to properly disinfect every plane after every flight.
Lesosky also said the union welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau that additional pre-flight screening of passengers for COVID-19 symptoms will begin on March 18. However, he stated flight attendants should not be responsible for this screening and that airports or airlines should have specially trained personnel assigned.