CUPE is reassured to see federal measures to support workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but is urging the federal government to deliver urgently needed help for airline workers right away.

Border closures and social distancing measures have had a devastating impact on the airline industry globally, forcing airlines to ground flights and lay off employees in record numbers.

“The workers who keep this vital industry running have the full support of their union, but they need support from their government too,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “During this difficult and unprecedented time, CUPE believes that financial support from the government is critically important, but it must be tied to protecting jobs and ensuring that airlines recall our members quickly when regular air travel resumes.”

Hancock noted that while today’s measures regarding Employment Insurance, child care benefits, and mortgage and student loan deferrals will assist CUPE members affected by layoffs or terminations, the government must do more for workers impacted by the government’s border closures. 

“One thing our members can count on, is that their union will stand with them and fight to protect their livelihoods in the midst of this crisis,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “CUPE members have always stood together during hard times, and this time is no different.”

CUPE represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine different airlines in Canada, including Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat.