Showing posts with label CUPE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CUPE. Show all posts

25 February, 2024

CUPE National President responds to Lynx Air's end

CUPE National President Mark Hancock made the following statement today in response to the news Lynx Air will be shutting down operations on Monday.

“We are devastated for our members at Lynx and all the employees who lost their jobs today. While this is a hard day for the employees of Lynx, they are better off for belonging to Canada’s largest union. CUPE will represent them and defend their rights in these difficult times. We will fight to ensure the employees get everything they are legally entitled to.”

CUPE represents 240 flight attendants at the airline, which completes its last flights today before ceasing all operations. 

14 December, 2023

Canada's flight attendants start "12 Days of Unpaid Work" series



The union representing flight attendants across Canada has launched a "12 Days of Unpaid Work" series in advance of the busy holiday travel season, to highlight the myriad ways flight attendants are forced to work for free for major airlines.


"All we want for Christmas this year is pay for time worked," said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 18,500 flight attendants at ten airlines in Canada. "Airline executives across Canada need to know that forcing overworked flight attendants to work unpaid for almost a full work-week every month is a one-way ticket to the naughty list."

The series is part of CUPE's Airline Division's Unpaid Work Won't Fly campaign, a joint effort of ten airline groups to combat the abuse of unpaid work in the airline sector which sees the average flight attendant work 35 hours per month unpaid.

As a general rule, flight attendants are only compensated while the aircraft is in motion – which means countless duties ranging from pre-flight safety checks to boarding, to deplaning, to customs and security are not paid. Learn more at unpaidworkwontfly.ca.



16 September, 2023

WestJet fights cabin crew over PA speech by politician

The Canadian airline WestJet has been underfire from Canadian flyers and politicians after it allowed Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre use a WestJet plane's public address system to make political statements.

After a video of the event on a flight to Calgary was shared on social media and the airline faced criticism, it tried to blame the cabin crew,  saying they had allowed the leader of the opposition to take over the mic. 

The President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has weighed into the row disputing that assertion. “After pushback from Canadians online, some of whom were calling for a boycott of the airline, WestJet tried to throw our members under the bus,” said Lesosky. “But cabin crew were acting on direction from management. When the boss tells you to do something, there’s not a lot of options.”

Lesosky said the use of a PA system on a flight for a political speech isn’t appropriate and may break Transport Canada’s guidelines related to the use of emergency equipment.  “Mr Poilievre claims he was exercising free speech, but that’s nonsense,” said Lesosky. “There are safety rules against what he did, and they are there for good reasons.”

“We take our responsibility for the safety of passengers extremely seriously; it’s a shame Mr. Poilievre and WestJet don’t feel the same way.  Mr. Poilievre should focus on unpaid work of cabin crew in Parliament, while we do what we do best and focus on safety.”

WestJet has since tried to calm the issue with its CEO saying Alexis von Hoensbroech saying the airline was neutral on political issues and claiming it was fine for the political announcement to be made as it was an extra flight the carrier had added to cope with the demand for the convention. However, it should be noted that it wasn't a private charter flight and had other passengers and not just convention delegates travelling on the flight. As the politician's announcement mentioned turbulence some say could have detracted from any further safety announcements on the flight which could have presented problems.  

Von Hoensbroech stated:  "The leader of the party was given the opportunity to greet delegates onboard (which is not unusual), but this was not a political endorsement nor should it be interpreted as such  - We are non-partisan by nature and will revisit our policy on this."

Canadian anyalists have also disputed the notion that WestJet and its senior leaders were 'non-partisan by nature' with a number of them making political donations or statements in the past. It is also understood the airline is still providing 'corporate' discounts to political parties. 

26 August, 2023

Canadian airline Porter's cabin crew get ready to unionize with CUPE

The cabin crew at Porter are said to be excited about the opportunity to have their voices heard and improve the working conditions at the regional Canadian carrier by joining Canada’s flight attendant union, CUPE.

“Porter cabin crew deserve better working conditions, better wages, and better scheduling in a mutually agreed contract – just like flight attendants at unionized airlines in Canada,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “But without an enforceable contract and a strong union voice, the company makes the rules and can change them whenever they feel like it.”

That will change with CUPE, where Porter cabin crew will have the support and the resources of Canada’s largest union at their disposal to help negotiate a strong contract.

15 August, 2023

Air Canada's profits soar - while its flight attendants are forced to work for nothing......



The union representing 9,500 flight attendants at Air Canada says the company’s quarterly profit of $838 million shows it is more than capable of giving its flight attendants a raise to their poverty starting wages. It also shows the company is more than capable of ending its reliance on – and abuse of – unpaid work by flight attendants.

“The great news is our customers are back, and the planes are full. The bad news is the workers who keep this airline flying are getting crushed by inflation, while the airline still depends on hours of our free labour every month to keep the airline operating,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“Our members are highly-trained safety professionals, but our starting wages are so low that our members working fulltime still qualify for and depend on federal income supplements like the Canada Workers Benefit,” said Lesosky, noting the starting salary for a flight attendant at Air Canada Rouge is $26,487 in the first year.

Meanwhile, the company is not paying flight attendants for hours of critical work they perform every day, and the hours add up. A survey conducted by CUPE last winter found that the average flight attendant in Canada works unpaid for 35 hours every month because airlines like Air Canada only pay flight attendants while the plane is in motion.

“This means duties critical to safety and passenger well-being like assisting passengers during boarding and deplaning as well as pre-flight safety checks are not paid,” said Lesosky. “These huge profit margins reported are built on the backs of the airline not paying our members a fair wage – simple as that.”

15 April, 2023

In Canada, the average flight attendant works 35 hours every month for free......

Flight attendants represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have launched the “Unpaid Work Won’t Fly” campaign, a national effort to end the widespread abuse of unpaid work in the airline sector that sees the average flight attendant in Canada work 35 hours every month for free.

“Much of the Canadian public has no idea that when flight attendants are doing their pre-flight safety checks, or assisting passengers with boarding, or helping passengers when their plane is delayed at the gate after a long journey, that the flight attendant isn’t even being paid,” said Wesley Lesosky, a flight attendant with CUPE 4094 and president of CUPE’s Airline Division. “It’s a dirty secret in this industry and one that we’re determined to expose and end for good.”

“If we’re at work, in uniform, doing our jobs and taking responsibility for our passengers, we should be getting paid – simple as that,” Lesosky added.

The campaign will aim to raise awareness about the situation facing flight attendants – who are responsible for keeping the flying public safe and comfortable on the ground and at 30,000 feet – and will culminate in a National Day of Action to End Unpaid Work on April 25, with events in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Visit UnpaidWorkWontFly.ca for more information about the campaign, events, and the work that flight attendants do every day.



Quick facts


In December 2022-January 2023, CUPE surveyed its airline sector membership about the issue of unpaid work, receiving responses from over 9,500 of its members. The survey found that:

Flight attendants work an average of 34.86 hours unpaid per month. That’s almost a full week every month.
Flight attendants are not paid for boarding, which can take up to an hour.
Flight attendants are not paid for their pre-flight prep and safety checks.
99.5% of flight attendants aren’t paid when they’re checking in through security, even though they’re at work in uniform.
98.6% of flight attendants aren’t paid while passengers deplane after a flight, even though they are still assisting passengers disembark.
75% of flight attendants are only paid a partial wage for mandatory regulatory training, even though airlines and the federal government require several training days per year.
98.4% of flight attendants are not paid when the plane is being held at the gate after landing, even though they are still assisting passengers, often in elevated temperatures.
CUPE is Canada’s flight attendant union, representing approximately 18,500 flight attendants at ten airlines nationwide, including Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Sunwing, Calm Air, PAL Airlines, Flair Airlines, Canadian North, PasCan, and Pivot Airlines.

12 April, 2023

The average flight attendant in Canada works 35 hours every month for free......

Flight attendants represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have launched the “Unpaid Work Won’t Fly” campaign, a national effort to end the widespread abuse of unpaid work in the airline sector that sees the average flight attendant in Canada work 35 hours every month for free.

“Much of the Canadian public has no idea that when flight attendants are doing their pre-flight safety checks, or assisting passengers with boarding, or helping passengers when their plane is delayed at the gate after a long journey, that the flight attendant isn’t even being paid,” said Wesley Lesosky, a flight attendant with CUPE 4094 and president of CUPE’s Airline Division. “It’s a dirty secret in this industry and one that we’re determined to expose and end for good.”

“If we’re at work, in uniform, doing our jobs and taking responsibility for our passengers, we should be getting paid – simple as that,” Lesosky added.

The campaign will aim to raise awareness about the situation facing flight attendants – who are responsible for keeping the flying public safe and comfortable on the ground and at 30,000 feet – and will culminate in a National Day of Action to End Unpaid Work on April 25, with events in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Visit UnpaidWorkWontFly.ca for more information about the campaign, events, and the work that flight attendants do every day.



Quick facts


In December 2022-January 2023, CUPE surveyed its airline sector membership about the issue of unpaid work, receiving responses from over 9,500 of its members. The survey found that:

Flight attendants work an average of 34.86 hours unpaid per month. That’s almost a full week every month.
Flight attendants are not paid for boarding, which can take up to an hour.
Flight attendants are not paid for their pre-flight prep and safety checks.
99.5% of flight attendants aren’t paid when they’re checking in through security, even though they’re at work in uniform.
98.6% of flight attendants aren’t paid while passengers deplane after a flight, even though they are still assisting passengers disembark.
75% of flight attendants are only paid a partial wage for mandatory regulatory training, even though airlines and the federal government require several training days per year.
98.4% of flight attendants are not paid when the plane is being held at the gate after landing, even though they are still assisting passengers, often in elevated temperatures.
CUPE is Canada’s flight attendant union, representing approximately 18,500 flight attendants at ten airlines nationwide, including Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Sunwing, Calm Air, PAL Airlines, Flair Airlines, Canadian North, PasCan, and Pivot Airlines.

06 July, 2022

CUPE calls on Transport Canada to ensure ongoing protections for flight attendants

As COVID-19-related safety measures are increasingly being lifted across the country, CUPE – Canada’s flight attendant union – is calling on the federal government to ensure airlines continue providing flight attendants with workplace PPE so that workers remain protected once passenger mask mandates are lifted.

CUPE and other unions representing workers in the airline sector have participated in regular calls with federal regulators to express our views on safety issues related to the pandemic. Nevertheless, as stakeholders, we have been routinely caught off guard by unexpected changes to COVID-19 safety procedures and requirements which has been deeply concerning to our members.

CUPE recently surveyed its 15,000 members in the airline sector on their views respecting ongoing COVID-19 safety measures, and the result was very strong. Many flight attendants believe they are currently well-protected and thousands want to see respiratory protections for flight attendants remain a company-provided option if and when passenger mask mandates are lifted.

“We all look forward to the day that COVID is under control enough to no longer need mask mandates onboard for passengers, but we have to recognize that occupational health and safety hazards for flight attendants still remain,” said Troy Winters, CUPE National health and safety officer for the airline sector. "There are thousands of workers that expect their employers to protect them, and they expect the regulators to ensure companies are complying with the health and safety laws.”

CUPE, Canada's Flight Attendant Union, Condemns Abuse Against Airline Workers Amid Airport Chaos

Statement from Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Airline Division, and Rena Kisfalvi, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE’s Airline Division:

As leaders in Canada's flight attendant union, we strongly condemn the mounting verbal and physical abuse against flight attendants and other airline workers as chaos grips airports across Canada.

We are appalled and deeply disturbed by growing reports across Canada about abuse against our members, ranging from verbal insults to grabbing, punching, and kicking, and more.

We acknowledge the frustrations of passengers when they experience delays and cancellations, because as flight attendants, those things disrupt and make our lives harder too – and we are experiencing them every single day.

However, there is no excuse for the abuse our members are enduring, and there is no excuse for inaction on the part of the federal government and employers.

Both the federal government and airline employers must step up to protect the safety of our members and their employees, and they must also improve staffing and working conditions to alleviate the extraordinary bottlenecks at Canadian airports.




20 May, 2022

CUPE Rectifies Pay Injustice for Members at Air Canada

CUPE's Air Canada Component is pleased to see progress on an important pay issue for its members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The union spoke out last week about how ground delays at Pearson Airport, have been resulting in members working for significantly reduced pay or for free, due to an outdated policy which paid flight attendants drastically less - or nothing at all - for their time on the ground. However, that has now changed.

Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge have just signed a memorandum of agreement with CUPE which will see ground duty pay related to "metering" - the process of managing air traffic in and out of terminals - at Pearson Airport escalated to 100 per cent.

"Making our members essentially work for free was simply unjust, and we're happy to have the company come to the table, recognizing the issue and helping to rectify this injustice," said Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE's Air Canada Component.

The memorandum also acknowledges the impact of the delays on flight attendants' schedules, and establishes considerations for ensuring flight attendants are rested enough for their next scheduled duty after a lengthy unscheduled ground delay.

"This represents important progress for our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, but we know we are not the only airline facing these issues," Lesosky added. "We will continue fighting across our union to make sure all our members are paid fairly for their time. No one should be working for free."

CUPE’s Air Canada Component represents approximately 9,500 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. CUPE’s Air Division represents approximately 15,000 flight attendants across nine different airlines in total.
Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash



 





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08 April, 2022

PAL Airlines and CUPE Reach First Collective Agreement

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and PAL Airlines have ratified their first collective agreement, after two years of bargaining. Approximately 50 flight attendants who work for the airline in St. John’s, Halifax and Montrรฉal are represented by CUPE 5451.

 PAL Airlines is based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and serves an extensive network of scheduled and charter destinations across Eastern Canada and Quebec. PAL Airlines has over 40 years of experience in the aviation industry with a reputation built on safety, reliability, and exceptional customer service. PAL Airlines was recently awarded our seventh Airline Reliability Award from De Havilland Canada for the Dash 8–100/200/300 Aircraft Program.


The new three-year agreement will be in place from 2022 to 2025 and includes improvements to provisions regarding holiday pay, improvements to scheduling, as well as a new pay system to be implemented based on industry standards.

“COVID-19 travel restrictions made negotiations a long and challenging process, but we were able to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both our members and the airline,” said CUPE 5451 President Courtney Decker. “Our members are proud to provide safe travel to passengers throughout the pandemic, and we look forward to doing so in the future.”

“PAL Airlines is happy to reach this initial agreement with our flight attendant group and sincerely appreciates the collaborative approach to collective bargaining respected by all parties to this negotiation,” said Calvin Ash, president of PAL Airlines. “We’re thrilled to solidify the future of these vital employees and support their continued delivery of the safe, friendly in-flight services that travellers have come to expect from our team.”




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04 March, 2022

CUPE set to fight WestJet's take over of Sunwing.

The union representing flight attendants at Sunwing Airlines says it will fight tooth and nail to defend the rights and the jobs of its 800 members in the wake of news that WestJet is looking to acquire Sunwing Airlines.

"The pandemic has been very tough on our sector, and on our airline in particular,” said Rena Kisfalvi, President of Local 4055 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). "We'll be keeping a close eye on this proposal, and our sole focus will remain on defending our members' jobs and their livelihoods as this process moves forward."

Local 4055 recently ratified a new collective agreement in June 2021, which featured important gains for members, including an additional top-up for maternity leaves - the first of its kind in the airline sector.

"The ink is barely dry on our new contract, and you can bet we are going to ensure our hard-won rights are respected,” Kisfalvi added.





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26 September, 2021

CUPE Members agree new contract with Swoop



CUPE Flight Attendants working at Swoop, WestJet’s ultra-low-cost carrier, have signed off on their first collective bargaining agreement. Members voted today to ratify the tentative collective agreement reached in September. The five-year agreement includes wage improvements, and momentum towards industry-standard scheduling and pay rules.

“This is the first-ever collective agreement for our membership at Swoop. Ratification of this deal is proof positive that certifying with CUPE has been instrumental in our members’ pursuit of fair working conditions,” said CUPE 4070 President Chris Rauenbusch. “Reaching this deal was not easy in light of the circumstances caused by the global pandemic. I’d like to thank both our union and our bargaining committee for working so hard to find a path forward despite the challenges of the past 18 months.”

CUPE represents over 200 Flight Attendants at Swoop. The parties have been engaged in collective bargaining towards a first union contract since February 2020.

CUPE also represents cabin crew at WestJet mainline and its subsidiary WestJet Encore.



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11 September, 2021

WestJet's budget carrier Swoop reaches tentative agreement with CUPE union

CUPE and Swoop have reached a tentative first collective agreement for flight attendants at the ultra low cost carrier. CUPE Local 4070 represents approximately 200 flight attendants at Swoop.

CUPE has represented flight attendants at Swoop since June 2019. The parties have been engaged in collective bargaining towards a first union contract since February 2020.

CUPE Local 4070 President Chris Rauenbusch called this “a remarkable testament to the hard work of the union bargaining committee particularly during the worst crisis our industry has ever seen.” Rauenbusch noted that COVID-19 travel restrictions and layoffs made achieving this milestone “an absolutely monumental task.”

“In the past seven months, we have achieved agreements for our members with WestJet, WestJet Encore and now Swoop,” said Rauenbusch. “To achieve constructive agreements for all three bargaining units, especially during a pandemic is remarkable.”

02 June, 2021

Air Canada facing backlash over $10 million bosses bonuses whilst staff are laid off....

Air Canada is facing a backlash from staff, unions and regular travellers after it was revealed that top executives and managers had received $10 million of COVID-19-specific bonuses and special share purchase options in 2020, while the airline has laid off tens of thousands of workers, denied them access to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and then lobbied the Canadian federal government successfully for a $5.9 billion aid package.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing flight attendants at Air Canada calls the firm's excessive executive bonus payouts, whilst lobbying for a bailout and laying off tens of thousands of workers as 'shameless' and 'morally bankrupt.'
Mark Hancock, National President of CUPE said: "Paying out millions in executive bonuses while they kick their workers to the curb and ask the taxpayer to bail them out isn't just wrong, it's morally bankrupt, 

This company has been taking the federal government for a ride and it's our members and the Canadian public who are paying the price. It's long past time for Justin Trudeau to get a grip on this situation."



Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE said: "This has been a long and difficult year for our members, but this truly feels like we're being kicked when we're already down.

Our employer turned their back on us, they refused to give us the lifeline the government offered through CEWS, and then they lined their own pockets. It's just shameless. What makes it even worse is the federal government has just sat there and let it all happen."




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14 April, 2021

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) bemoans federal government’s $5.9 billion aid package for Air Canada

The Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE reacts to the recently announced $5.9 billion aid package for Air Canada, which it says is bad news for the carriers cabin crew and breaks the governments own commitments to staff.

"We had a commitment from the Trudeau government that any relief money for the airline sector would flow directly to support workers, and that commitment is not reflected in this agreement," said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. "This deal is exactly what we feared a deal cooked up behind closed doors would look like: it’s a year late, no transparency, and not nearly enough to support the thousands of flight attendants still reeling from the impacts of the pandemic."

"This announcement is good news for our 2,000 members still working at Air Canada and for the stability of the company going forward, but it’s tough to think this is what we waited 13 months for,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE. "This announcement leaves over 7,500 of my members with no answers and no income supports."

The $5.9 billion aid package provides long term support for the national carrier which had been hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting downturn in passenger numbers. Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada said:  "The additional liquidity program - achieves several aligned objectives as it provides a significant layer of insurance for Air Canada, it enables us to better resolve customer refunds of non-refundable tickets, maintain our workforce and re-enter regional markets. Most importantly, this program provides additional liquidity, if required, to rebuild our business to the benefit of all stakeholders and to remain a significant contributor to the Canadian economy through its recovery and for the long term."  The airline has already changed direction on its previous refund policy for passengers that had had flights cancelled because of the pandemic, who now will be able to get a refund, thanks to the bailout.





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