Union shifts focus to legal fight with airline following company memo to employees

Due to recent actions by Flair Airlines that have raised concerns for the job security of CUPE 4060 members—actions the union will be challenging at the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB)—the Canadian Union of Public Employees has called off job action by Flair’s 139 flight attendants that was to begin at midnight on December 10.

The company has issued memos to employees advising them that anyone taking part in the job action would not be scheduled for further work, and that anyone coming to work and crossing a picket line would receive an additional $150/day as a strike-breaker bonus. CUPE regards these communications by Flair as contrary to Canadian labour law and will be launching a number of challenges with the CIRB.

The company’s strategy of illegally tilting the balance of power in its favour has put CUPE members in a precarious position where they could be punished for exercising their rights under the law, said CUPE National Representative Gary Yee.

“As with any labour dispute after bargaining has broken down, our intent with the job action was to put pressure on the employer while it continued to operate the airline,” said Yee. “But Flair’s threats of possible illegal actions could jeopardize our members’ job security, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Yee said that the union would first need to deal with Flair’s unfair labour practices at the CIRB before continuing with any job action.

Flair bases in Canada are located in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Abbotsford. Since being organized November 2017, Local 4060 has been in bargaining with the airline for nearly a year.