CUPE’s Airline Division Component Presidents are meeting this week in Vancouver to discuss how to end the widespread industry use of unpaid labour. Flight attendants regularly perform hours of unpaid work every time they report for duty – a practice that must stop.

“If you’re a firefighter, a bank teller, an electrician, or almost any other profession in Canada, when you show up for work and perform work duties, you’re on the clock and you’re compensated for your time. For flight attendants in Canada, that simply isn’t the case,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division. “Flight attendants deserve to be paid for hours worked, and we’re going to step up this fight to make sure they are.”

Although there are variations at each airline, generally speaking, most flight attendants in Canada are at work, in uniform, performing work-related duties long before they start – and long after they stop – getting paid. It is estimated that between 20 and 50 per cent of a Canadian flight attendant’s time at work is unpaid. Unpaid work may include things like prepping aircraft, boarding and deplaning passengers, gate duties, and safety-related duties.

The division presidents have been meeting this week to put plans in place to present a strong and united front across CUPE’s ten different airline groups, and raise public awareness and mobilize members to end this unfair and exploitive practice.

“This is a totally unacceptable industry practice that only exists because nobody knows about it,” said Rena Kisfalvi, Secretary-Treasurer of the Division. “That is about to change.”

CUPE’s Airline Division represents approximately 18,500 flight attendants working at ten different airlines in Canada.