CALGARY, July 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada has recently decided to close
two flight attendant bases in Halifax and Winnipeg and terminate hundreds of
jobs. While the Calgary base is as yet untouched by these cuts and closures,
local leadership wishes to show solidarity with affected workers, as well as
raise questions about the fate of Air Canada employees in Alberta.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the company's
flight attendants, has organized national action against these cuts on Monday,
"Once these closures happen, we're going to be the smallest base in the
country," said CUPE Local 4095 President Claire Renaud. "Members are seeing
these layoffs happen in other cities, and it makes them feel vulnerable to the
company's whims themselves."
These cuts are expected to have a huge impact on passengers, employees,
their families and ultimately on their communities. The decision to make these
cuts was based on a viability study that Air Canada has refused to share with
"Four years ago, flight attendants took a 13.5% pay cut to protect Air
Canada's viability," said CUPE Alberta President D'Arcy Lanovaz. "While last
year, Robert Milton, President and CEO of ACE Aviation, earned a $1.2 million
salary, a $3.9 million bonus plus $11.2 million in stock option gains from Air
Canada. It's not surprising that our members are feeling frustrated by this
"Thousands of people have joined us to lobby federal officials," Renaud.
"Our rally on Monday will be a great chance for members to get informed and
show support for affected flight attendants right across the country.
On July 10th, Air Canada management notified flight attendants that they
are "redundant" and "surplus" and would be laid off in November. Potentially,
600 of the union's 7,200 members could be affected by the company's action.
Support rallies will take place across Canada simultaneously in Halifax,
Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver on Monday.
Monday, July 28, 2008
10 AM - Calgary Airport
Marie Wright Room on the Mezzanine Level
Note: Flight attendants will be available for interviews.
Visit http://www.cupealberta.ab.ca regularly!
- The company plans to cut attendant bases in Winnipeg and Halifax,
leaving bases in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. The
threatened layoffs would affect about 144 CUPE flight attendants in
Winnipeg and another 187 in Halifax, plus 300 others in Vancouver.
- Air Canada has requested an exemption from the requirements of the
Canada Labour Code - sections 214 to 226, Division IX, Part III. These
provisions allow for workers 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 30th. The union has argued
that there is no justification for the exemption.
- Politicians have been asked to write to Minister of Labour to intervene
on behalf of the Air Canada employees. Already letters have gone from a
number of MPs and thousands of e- mails have been sent from the
- The union requested the 'base viability study' that Air Canada
conducted after they decided to close the two attendant bases. The
company has claimed the attendant bases are no longer needed by the
airline. The airline has refused to release the results of this secret
- 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.
- Last year, Robert Milton, President and CEO of ACE Aviation earned a
$1.2 million salary, a $3.9 million bonus and $11.2 million in stock
option gains from Air Canada. He posted $23.1 million in option gains
since ACE was created in October of 2004, after Air Canada exited
- During two rounds of court-ordered bargaining in 2003 and 2004 when Air
Canada was in bankruptcy protection, flight attendants took a 13.5%
wage cut as well as significant benefit cuts.
- After Air Canada acquired Canadian Airlines in 2000, the flight
attendant workforce of 8,500 was cut to 7,200 today - a loss of
1,300 positions. The current plan to layoff about 600 flight attendants
will reduce the number working for Air Canada to about 6,600.
- The Winnipeg flight attendant base is the oldest for the airline.
Trans-Canada Air Line was started in 1937 and the Winnipeg base was the
first established for flight attendants.
For further information:
For further information: Claire Renaud, 4095 President, (403) 870-1779,
(403) 221-2625; D'Arcy Lanovaz, Alberta Division President, (403) 861-5235