CUPE joined a labour roundtable hosted by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Scott Duvall on Friday to discuss the challenges facing workers in the airline and aerospace sectors, which have been ravaged by the economic fallout of COVID-19.

“The jobs lost in these sectors represent thousands of families who have lost their ability to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. We need immediate action now to save these jobs and help these families,” said Singh to open the discussion.

CUPE was represented by Chantale Grenon-Nyenhuis, Assistant Director of Organizing and Regional Services, who underscored the urgency of federal support for struggling airline workers. “The pandemic has hit our members hard,” said Grenon-Nyenhuis. “This industry and the tens of thousands of Canadian jobs that depend on it need a lifeline from the federal government yesterday.”

In addition to federal financial support for airline workers, CUPE has also lobbied the federal government to implement rapid testing at airports. Offering pre-boarding COVID-19 tests “would make flying safer for workers and the public alike, and also give peace of mind to Canadians who must continue to travel during the pandemic,” said Grenon-Nyenhuis.

“If there is no federal intervention, tens of thousands more jobs will be lost,” said Scott Duvall, the NDP’s critic for labour issues. Despite calls for help, our prime minister is nowhere to be seen.”

CUPE represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine different airlines across Canada. Roughly two-thirds of CUPE’s airline members are currently on furlough, awaiting a return to work.