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(OTTAWA) Flight attendants came to Parliament Hill today to tell the government they have a plan to help stabilize the airline industry and at the same time protect jobs.

Flanked by veteran and junior flight attendants in full uniform, leaders from the Canadian Union of Public Employees emphasized theres a cost effective alternative to mass layoffs if the government and airlines cooperate.

Were not talking bailouts or handouts, said CUPE National President Judy Darcy. Were talking about a coherent, coordinated plan to avoid layoffs and save Canadas airlines industry. We need the government to show some real leadership on this issue. And someone in government needs to be on first to make sure this happens.

Flight attendants are more than willing to work with the companies and government to identify how to cut staffing costs without there being a single layoff, said Frano0069s Bellemare, a veteran flight attendant and president of CUPEs Airline Division. We can help provide real, long term solutions using alternatives like voluntary exit packages and work sharing. In the long term, these options make much more financial sense.

As part of their lobby, CUPE flight attendants handed out pink slips to MPs as they left caucus meetings. The first layoff notices were issued today to Air Canada employees. It is expected that many Air Transat employees will receive layoff notices tomorrow.

In the past week, Darcy has met with Transport Minister David Collenette and Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart and has spoken with Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw.

So far, ministers have been more willing to meet with airline workers than the companies have, said Darcy. Where has Air Canada been this week? The government has made it very clear that the companies need to come to the table. CUPE has been willing to talk, any time, anywhere. Their lack of cooperation has been shameful.

CUPE is Canadas largest union, representing a half million workers. The Airline Division of CUPE represents over 10,000 Canadian flight attendants.


For more information: Sandra Sorensen (613) 266-1415