CUPE to Cannon: Will you step in on behalf of Air Canada workers, consumers?

    OTTAWA, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) is calling on Federal Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon to
intervene after this week's announced slashing of 2000 jobs at Air Canada.
    Media reports placed blame for the cuts on rising fuel costs - exactly
where Air Canada wants it - leaving flight attendants and consumers to wonder
whether and how the federal government will intervene to protect workers and
    CUPE wants Cannon to let Canadians know immediately what he intends to do
to protect Air Canada workers and service in vulnerable regions.
    "The outlook for the industry is serious, but we are suspicious about the
emphasis, timing, and intent of this announcement," says Paul Moist, CUPE
national president.
    Even airline industry expert Joseph D'Cruz told CBC's The National this
week that "there is no evidence that Air Canada is in serious difficulty."
    CUPE National also supports its Air Canada Component President,
Lesley Swann, who is asking Air Canada to let employees use the voluntary
separation provisions in their contract. "Air Canada seems to prefer to lay
off its lowest paid employees rather than let its highest paid employees leave
voluntarily. This is a bizarre business strategy", added Moist.
    Air Canada flight attendants have already demonstrated extraordinarily
good faith by making concessions to benefit the company: in 2003, they kept
the company in the air by giving up 10% of their wages and a week of their
holidays, among other things.
    Meanwhile, Robert Milton - president and CEO of ACE Aviation Holdings
(Air Canada's parent company) - was paid $43 million dollars in 2007.
Montie Brewer, president and CEO of Air Canada, got $8 million. "If times are
so tough for Air Canada, why do Milton and Brewer make such exorbitant
salaries?" asks Moist.

    CUPE represents more than 570,000 members across Canada, including
7,000 Air Canada flight attendants based in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg,
Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.

For further information:

For further information: Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications
representative, (613) 808-0675; Pam Kapoor, CUPE Communications
representative, (613) 853-8089

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