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Negotiations between the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Air Canada have broken off. Conciliator Tom Dynan has recognized the impasse at negotiations and will submit his report to the Minister of Labour in the coming days.

The almost 5,000 flight attendants of Air Canada, represented by the Airline Division of CUPE, will now proceed to a strike vote.

“We have been in negotiations with Air Canada for eight months. The company’s intransigence on key issues such as pensions, work rules and the company’s continued insistence for concessions, leaves us no choice but to get a strike mandate,” said Pam Sachs, President of the Air Canada component of the CUPE Airline Division.

“The majority of our members are women. We are seeking respect and dignity. Air Canada has had record bookings and is a healthy company that will continue to grow. We are responsible for their award-winning successes, and we are saying that it is time for our share. The failure of the company to give us the respect and dignity we deserve, is terribly bad management at best and demeaning at worst,” added Sachs.

“A fair settlement has been our objective all along. This Company has had record profits in 1997, and would have in 1998 had it not been affected by the pilots’ strike. With increased bookings in 1999 the company should be able to see its way clear to improving pension plans, and recognizing the work that we do,” concluded Sachs.

The strike vote will be conducted after membership meetings are held across the country between May 31 and June 4. Flight attendants could be on strike as early as the end of June.

Flight attendants are based in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

For more information: Pam Sachs, President, Air Canada Component, CUPE Airline Div. (416) 798-3399, ext. 236 Catherine Louli 004300550050E Communications Officer - Cell (613) 851-0547