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(Ottawa) The head of Canadas largest union has written to Transport Minister David Collenette to urge the federal government to provide immediate financial assistance to the airline industry. Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 10, 000 flight attendants, also requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss several critical issues facing airline workers.

The events of September 11th in the United States have already had a serious economic impact on the Canadian airline industry, and carriers anticipate a continued reduction in air passenger travel in the months to come. Several foreign carriers have already announced cuts, and both Air Canada and Air Transat have announced that they are seriously considering employee layoffs.

These troubles started well before last week, said Darcy. Airline workers have made tremendous concessions in the last decade, and despite this, they continue to live with the instability of their industry. Liberal policies of deregulation have contributed to the upheaval and insecurity, she added, and it is only fair that the federal government assume some of the financial responsibility for this mess.

Frano0069s Bellemare, President of the Airline Division of CUPE, said Few other sectors have taken the hits that the airline industry has in recent years. Flight attendants have made numerous sacrifices they must not be made to bear the brunt once again.

Darcy has added her voice to a growing list of advocates for government financial aid to the industry. The U.S. government is putting together a bailout package. Tell us now: What will the Canadian government do?

The Airline Division of CUPE represents the overwhelming majority of flight attendants in Canada, with members at Air Canada, Canada 3000, Royal Aviation, Air Transat, CanJet, CALM Air, First Air, and Cathay Pacific.


For more information:

Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications,
(416) 798-3399, ext. 228, or cell (416) 738-4329

Laurie Kingston, CUPE Communications,
(613) 237-1590, ext. 294, or cell (613) 266-1415