PhotosAfter seven long months, two CUPE members unjustly detained in the Dominican Republic have been told they will soon be on their way home to Canada, pending a court hearing to confirm their release scheduled for late November. CUPE will be watching intently to ensure there are no additional delays – our members have suffered enough as it is.

Christina Carello and Alexander Rozov, flight attendants with Pivot Airlines and members of CUPE Local 4059, were detained along with two pilots and a flight mechanic on April 5 after discovering and reporting suspected contraband on their plane. In doing so, they prevented a possible onboard fire and a potential air disaster resulting from the added weight and hazardous location of the contraband on the plane.

Despite that, and despite immediately following all local and international laws and regulations, Dominican authorities held the crew without charge and without ever once interviewing them for seven months. They were deprived of basic justice and their most fundamental human rights, while facing numerous threats on their lives and lived in a constant state of fear.

“Thousands of CUPE members and ordinary Canadians spoke out for Christina and Alex, and together they helped keep up the pressure on the Dominican government and our own,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “We never gave up fighting to bring Christina and Alex home, and while it’s seven months too late, we’re incredibly relieved they will soon be coming home safe.”

For the past seven months, CUPE has fought hard to lobby the Canadian and Dominican governments to secure Christina and Alex’s release alongside the airline and our union partners. CUPE organized a letter-writing campaign that sent over 2,700 letters to Global Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Members of Parliament. We also recognize the efforts of CUPE’s Airline Division President Wesley Lesosky and Secretary-Treasurer Rena Kisfalvi to support Christina and Alex through these extraordinarily difficult times.

CUPE members played a critical part in helping build pressure and keep Christina and Alex’s story in the public eye, and it’s an important reminder of the role that we have to play as a union to defend our members at home and abroad,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “We know it’s been a tough journey for Christina and Alex, and we know the journey doesn’t end here – but neither does our support for them. We have your back.”