Media advisory - Air Canada flight attendants rally against cuts and closures - Toronto rally at Pearson International Airport



    TORONTO, July 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada flight attendants across the
country, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 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 at Air Canada bases across the
country, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and
Halifax.
    Politicians and labour leaders will speak out to stop the closures and
keep jobs in their cities. According to CUPE 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 redundant and will be laid off in November.
Overall, 600 flight attendants could lose their jobs.
    In response, CUPE has launched a national campaign demanding Air Canada
reconsider the cuts and the 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 Air Canada Component
representing 7,200 flight attendants.

    
    DATE:       Monday, July 28th, 2008

    TIME:       1 p.m.

    LOCATION:   Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport - Terminal
                Arrivals Level - Area F

    Speakers at the rally will include: Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario,
Lesley Swann, Air Canada Local Component president and Cidalia Ribeiro,
Toronto Local president, CUPE 4092.

            Note: Flight attendants are available for interviews.

                                 BACKGROUND

    Air Canada Base Closures and Flight Attendant Layoffs

    Significant information:

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

    - The union has requested a '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 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, Chairman of Air Canada 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 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 reduction to help the company deal with its financial crisis.

    - 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.

    Go to www.cupe.ca for background information.
    




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, 1-204-942-0343,
1-204-333-5065; Cidalia Ribeiro, President of CUPE 4092, (416) 795-4293
(Cell)

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