CUPE Manitoba joined other unions representing workers in the airline sector in Winnipeg for a meeting with Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North Kevin Lamoureux, to discuss the current state of the airline sector and the challenging impacts on workers in Manitoba. 

CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay and Rena Kisfalvi, President of CUPE Local 4055 and Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE’s Airline Division, ensured that concerns impacting CUPE’s 15,000 airline sector members were strongly voiced. 

“We are being yelled at, spat on, punched and kicked and face workplace violence every day,” explained Kisfalvi. “We need the government to support workers from check-in, screening, the gate, baggage handlers, right up to us flight attendants 35,000 feet in the air.”

As air travel ramps up, airline workers are facing increasing violence, harassment, precarious work, job insecurity, and passenger frustration due to delays, cancellations, and airport bottlenecks.

“If there are delays at check-in, or if there is an issue with baggage, the flight attendants and gate staff are always the recipient of passengers’ frustrations,” explained Kisfalvi. “And when the industry shut down because of COVID, the airlines were not prepared for when air travel restrictions were lifted, and now we are in a huge mess with staff shortages, low wages, and little protection for staff.”

CUPE represents 15,000 workers at nine different airlines in Canada.