The COVID-19 pandemic has placed undue pressure on employees of airline companies. Members of the Air Transat Flight Attendants’ Union have denounced the lack of respect shown by both levels of government at a time when they are putting their health at risk to bring Canadians back home.

“We are among the employees who provide essential services. Our members are on the front lines of this world-wide crisis. The governments don’t recognize it. They are telling Canadians to return to the country and are not providing adequate working conditions for those who have to bring them back,” claimed Julie Roberts, President of the Air Transat Component of CUPE.  

More specifically, the union is requesting that all flight attendants have access to sufficient quantities of personal protective equipment available. In addition, the union is demanding that all planes be amply supplied with enough disinfectant and potable water to clean them adequately after each flight. For health reasons, they want to keep all interaction with passengers to a minimum.

“As well, we are also asking for access to daycare services like all other recognized workers who are providing essential services,” added Julie Roberts.

Air Transat flight attendants are specialists in emergency situations, and their prime role is to ensure passenger safety. They are members of the three local unions that correspond to their three bases: CUPE 4041 (Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat Component oversees the three local unions.

In total, CUPE represents close to 15,000 members in airline companies across Canada, particularly Air Transat, Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Sunwing, CALM Air, Canadian North, WestJet, WestJet Encore, Flair Air, Swoop, Cathay Pacific, First Air and Air Georgian