CUPE represents approximately 27,400 members in the transportation sector, including workers in airlines, airports, ferries, port authorities, rail, roads and highways, as well as public and private transit systems.
The airline division is the largest segment of the transportation sector, representing more than 15,000 members in ten airlines. Air Canada, which includes Air Canada mainline and the low-cost leisure carrier Air Canada Rouge, is the largest of two regularly-scheduled operators in the division with more than 9,700 flight attendants. In the summer of 2018, we welcomed more than 3,000 WestJet members, along with low-cost carriers Swoop and Encore. Over 2,000 members work at leisure carriers Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines. The remaining members, just over 300, are employed at regional airlines: Calm Air, Flair, PAL, First Air and Canadian North (the last two airlines are currently undergoing a merger). The airlines are publicly-traded corporations with the exception of privately held First Air and Sunwing Airlines.
CUPE also represents a small number of maintenance workers at five municipal airports. Municipal authorities govern Canadian airports.
Air Canada and Air Transat have several locals, with an executive responsible for each local, and a national executive committee that deals with collective bargaining and grievances at the national level. Members of other carriers are represented by one single local. The CUPE Airline Division is the governing body for the sector and meets biennially prior to CUPE’s national convention. Between conventions, the Airline Division Council of Presidents (ADCP) meets quarterly and is responsible for conducting issue-based campaigns, administering a division-wide defense fund, and convening meetings of two standing committees – Health and Safety, and Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, as well as an ad hoc Political Action Committee.
The next largest transportation group is transit workers with almost 8,500 members. The vast majority – over 7,100 – are bus drivers employed by 10 municipal transit authorities in Quebec. These include transit authorities in major centres such as Montreal and Quebec City, as well as smaller cities and towns. Each municipality has a separate local and collective agreement. Sector representatives meet quarterly as CUPE Quebec’s Conseil provincial du secteur du transport terrestre (CPSTT) to discuss issues of common concern and plan sector-wide campaigns.
Road and highway maintenance workers are another key component of the ground transportation network and form the third largest group in the sector with over 4,100 members. These members perform a wide range of inside and outside work related to provincial road repair and maintenance.
Another 1,000 transportation members are employed in the marine and rail sectors, including port workers in the Province of Quebec, SkyTrain and Southern Rail train operators in British Columbia, local port authorities and a small number of ferry workers in Ontario and Quebec.