Air Canada flight attendants rally across Canada



    
    Support rallies - Monday, July 28
    (with local times - details attached)

    Halifax       2 pm
    Montreal      1 pm
    Toronto       1 pm
    Winnipeg      noon
    Calgary       10 am
    Vancouver     10 am
    

    OTTAWA, July 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada flight attendants are pushing
back against the airline's plans to close flight attendant bases and terminate
hundreds of jobs. On Monday, July 28, rallies will be held simultaneously at
Air Canada bases across the country. Politicians and labour leaders will speak
out to stop the closures and keep jobs in their cities.
    According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the
flight attendants, the cuts and closures will have a devastating impact on
passengers, employees and their families, and ultimately everyone in the
communities being served.
    On July 10, 2008, Air Canada management notified flight attendants in
Halifax and Winnipeg that they are "surplus" and will be laid off in November.
Overall, 630 flight attendants could lose their jobs.
    In response, CUPE has launched a national campaign pushing Air Canada to
reconsider the cuts and closures.
    "These drastic measures don't make sense. There's no justification for
the closures, and cutting attendants is only going to reduce the company's
capacity to provide passengers with quality services," says Lesley Swann,
president of CUPE's Air Canada Component representing 7,200 flight attendants.
    Support rallies will take place on Monday across the country in Halifax,
Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.

    
    BACKGROUND

    Air Canada Base Closures and Flight Attendant Layoffs

    Significant information:

    - Air Canada plans to lay off 630 flight attendants and close attendant
      bases in Winnipeg and Halifax, leaving bases in Vancouver, Toronto,
      Calgary and Montreal. The layoffs would affect about 144 CUPE flight
      attendants in Winnipeg and another 187 in Halifax, plus 300 in
      Vancouver.

    - Air Canada has requested a waiver from the requirements of the Canada
      Labour Code - sections 214 to 226, Division IX, Part III. These
      provisions allow for worker to address their concerns when there are
      major layoffs proposed by an employer. Federal Minister Jean-Pierre
      Blackburn has notified the parties involved that he will investigate
      this request and will rule on it by July 30. The union has argued that
      there is no justification for the exemption.

    - Politicians have been asked to write to Transport, Infrastructure and
      Communities Minister Lawrence Cannon to intervene on behalf of the Air
      Canada employees. Already letters have gone from a number of MPs and
      hundreds of emails have been sent from the public.

    - The union has requested a 'base viability study' that Air Canada
      conducted, prompting their decision to close the two attendant bases.
      The company claims the attendant bases are no longer needed by the
      airline. The airline has refused to release the results of this study.

    - The airline was fully privatized in 1989. In 2000, Air Canada acquired
      Canadian Airlines International. The largest private sector owner of
      the airline is ACE Aerospace Holdings of Toronto.

    - Incidentally, last year, Robert Milton, Chairman of Air Canada earned a
      $1.2 million salary, a $3.9 million bonus and $11.2 million in stock
      option gains from ACE. He posted $23.1 million in option gains since
      ACE was created in October of 2004, after Air Canada exited bankruptcy
      protection.

    - During three rounds of court-ordered bargaining in 2003 and 2004 when
      Air Canada was in bankruptcy protection, flight attendants took a 13.5%
      wage rate cut, among other concessions, to deal with the financial
      crisis in the airline.

                          CUPE Air Canada Component

                       Support Rallies Monday July 28th

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    City       Location               Time      Contact          CUPE Local
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax    Grand Parade Square    2:00 pm   Lisa Vivian      Local 4090
               at George and                    Anthony
               Barrington                       President
               Centre of Halifax                902-873-2307
                                                902-430-6548
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montreal   Aéroport de Montréal   1:00 pm   Suzanne St-Jean  Local 4091
               Departure Level -                President
               Door One                         514-422-2235
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto    Pearson International  1:00 pm   Cidalia Ribeiro  Local 4092
               Airport Terminal One -           President
               Arrivals Area F                  416-795-4293
              (Details to be confirmed)         905-676-4293
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnipeg   Air Canada Centre     12 Noon    George Bouchard  Local 4093
               355 Portage Avenue               President
               assemble at                      204-999-3541
               Radisson Hotel                   204-788-6958
               and walk at 11:45
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary    Calgary Airport       10:00 am   Claire Renaud    Local 4095
               Delta hotel,                     President
               Marie Wright                     403-870-1779
               Room on the                      403-221-2625
               Mezzanine Level
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver  International         March      Deborah Purvey   Local 4094
               Airport               begins     President
               March from            at         604-551-5737
               Sea Island            10:00 am   604-279-9905/106
               Elementary School                604-295-4259
               on Miller Road,
               up Grant McConachie
               Way to airport.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    National   Daniela Scarpelli     1 416 458-0588
    Contacts   Dennis Lewycky        1 204 333 5065
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    




For further information:

For further information: Lesley Swann, President of CUPE Air Canada
Component, (416) 809-2577; Daniela Scarpelli, CUPE National Representative,
(416) 458-0588; Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications, (204) 942-0343, (204)
333-5065

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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