On September 27th, National President Judy Darcy and Airline Division President Frano0069s Bellemare met with Transport Minister David Collenette to urge federal aid for flight attendants who will be affected by the devastating cuts announced this week by Air Transat and Air Canada. Darcy and Bellemare attended as part of a delegation of union leaders representing airline workers.
The unions asked Collenette to earmark at least $600 million for aid to workers out of any assistance given to the industry. “A key way to avoid further turmoil is to avoid massive layoffs. And that means support for workers on the front lines has to be a vital part of any stabilization package,” said Darcy. She added that the government must act immediately to stabilize the industry and restore the confidence of the traveling public.
“This crisis in the airline industry began long before the events of September 11th,” said Darcy. “This industry has been in turmoil for years due to the government’s deregulation policies and restructuring, and it is unacceptable for workers to be made to pay the price once again.”
CUPE is seeking financial aid specifically to provide voluntary severance packages, early retirement options, and shared work programmes. Meetings are planned with Human Resources Development Minister Jane Stewart for next week to discuss these options. “If the government meets its responsibilities here in terms of funding assistance,” said Bellemare, “not a single one of our members need be laid off.”