Media advisory - Air Canada Flight Attendants Rally Against Cuts and Closures



    HALIFAX, July 25 /CNW/ - Air Canada flight attendants are Pushing Back
against the airline's plans to close flight attendant bases and terminate
hundreds of jobs.
    According to the union, these cuts and closures will have a devastating
impact on passengers, employees, their families and ultimately on their
communities.
    On July10th, 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.
    Since then, the union has launched a campaign to fight the cuts and the
closures. Numerous politicians and thousands of individuals have lobbied
federal officials to intervene on behalf of the flight attendants. Support
rallies will take place across Canada simultaneously in Halifax, Montreal,
Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.

    
                          Monday, July 28th 2:00 pm
                             Grand Parade Square

    Speakers at the rally will include:

    - Alexa McDonough, Member of Parliament
    - Peter Kelly, Mayor of Halifax
    - Darrell Dexter, Leader Nova Scotia NDP Party
    - Danny Cavanagh, President CUPE Nova Scotia
    - Bill Dooks, MLA, Minister of Tourism
    - Rick Clarke, President, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour


    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 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.

    
    Contact:

    Daniela Scarpelli, CUPE National Representative - 1-416-458-0588

    Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications - 1-204-942-0343 or 1-204-333-5065,

    National website: www.accomponent.ca




For further information:

For further information: Lisa Vivian Anthony, President of CUPE Local
4090, (902) 430-6548, local4090@ns.sympatico.ca; Go to www.cupe.ca for
background information; Note: Flight attendants will be available for
interviews.

Organization Profile

Canadian Union of Public Employees - Atlantic Region

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