Air Canada Flight Attendants Rally Against Cuts and Closures



    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,
July 28th.
    "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
CUPE.
    "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
employer."
    "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.

    CALGARY EVENT:

    Monday, July 28, 2008
    10 AM - Calgary Airport
    Delta Hotel
    Marie Wright Room on the Mezzanine Level

    
          Note: Flight attendants will be available for interviews.

                Visit http://www.cupealberta.ab.ca regularly!

                                 BACKGROUND

    - 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
      travelling public.

    - 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
      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.

    - 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
      bankruptcy protection.

    - 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

Organization Profile

Canadian Union of Public Employees

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890