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In conjunction with transport workers unions around the world, flight attendants with the Airline Division of CUPE are gathering at airports across the country today as part of their campaign to pressure government and industry to start addressing air rage in earnest.

Our members need to see some commitment on this issue, says Francois Bellemare, President of the Airline Division of CUPE. Flight attendants are on the front lines every day, bearing the brunt of some of the worst examples of air rage. How many more workers have to be threatened or assaulted before we see action? When a flight attendant is distracted from her or his duties, the safety of all passengers is compromised.

CUPE is calling on government and industry to endorse its five-point action plan:

- Canada must push for and endorse the development of a treaty under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which will meet in October, 2001 in Montreal. An international treaty would allow police around the world to effectively deal with unruly passengers on foreign flights.

- Canadas Criminal Code should be amended in order to create a new offence that would specifically prohibit interference with aircraft crew members.

- International treaties and domestic legislation must be vigorously enforced. Law enforcement officials must treat incidents of air rage seriously.

- A public awareness campaign for the traveling public is crucial: passengers must understand that interference with crew greatly compromises everyones safety on board aircraft, and they must understand the consequences of their actions. Prevention is key to any effective effort to stop air rage.

- Airline carriers must establish clear sanctions to deal with air rage, including the denial of carriage (or blacklisting) for serious offenders.

Flight attendants with CUPE will be distributing leaflets and buttons to the public this morning, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (local time) at airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Calgary.

Contact Info and Locations:

Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications (416) 738-4329 (cell.)

In Toronto: Francois Bellemare, flight attendant and President, Airline Division of CUPE (514) 923-3167 (cell)

Pearson International Airport, Terminal 2, Domestic Departures area

In Vancouver: Rob Limongelli, flight attendant and Secretary-Treasurer, Airline Division of CUPE, (604) 786-1403 (cell)

Vancouver International Airport, Domestic Terminal, Departures area near Gate C

In Montreal: Michel Roy, flight attendant, (514) 422-2432 (office)

Sebastien Charbonneau, flight attendant (514) 946-7750 (cell)

Dorval Airport, Domestic Departures area near the security checkpoint

In Halifax: Shona Thom, flight attendant, (902) 449-2026 (cell)

Halifax Airport, Departures area near the security checkpoint

In Winnipeg: Cindy Ponzo, flight attendant, (204) 479-2377 (cell)

Winnipeg International Airport, Domestic Departures area near the security checkpoint

In Calgary: Joseph Fogal, flight attendant, (403) 874-7208 (cell)

Calgary Airport, Terminal A, Domestic Departures area near the security checkpoint