Flight attendants pay the price for Air Canada turbulence

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Flight attendants represented by the Air
Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are reeling
over today's announcement of massive layoffs by their employer.
    Air Canada is demonstrating bad faith by limiting the number of workers
who will be able to benefit from early retirement, by doling out astronomic
wages to top executives, and by leaving employees to hear about the cuts from
the media.
    "All totaled, Robert Milton - president and CEO of ACE Aviation Holdings
(Air Canada's parent company) - was paid $43 million dollars in 2007, while
Montie Brewer, president and CEO of Air Canada, got $8 million. That's a lot
of money to ask flight attendants to cover through massive job losses," says
Lesley Swann, president of CUPE's Air Canada component.
    Paradoxically, Air Canada is currently in arbitration with its flight
attendants over the matter of retirement schemes considered too restrictive at
a time when jobs are being slashed.
    "Surely Air Canada is the only large North American air carrier to be
inhibiting retirements in this way. It's ludicrous - instead of allowing
senior employees at the top of the pay scale to retire, the company wants to
push out younger and lower-salaried workers," says Swann.
    "Of 2000 layoffs, only 100 will be management positions," notes Swann,
"Once again, we suffer the brunt of 'sustaining profitability', just like we
did through critical concessions in 2003 and 2004."
    CUPE's Air Canada component is equally disappointed to have not been
informed enough in advance of this layoff plan. Asks Swann: "When is Air
Canada going to show the respect due the very workers whose efforts keep the
company afloat?"

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

For further information:

For further information: Humberto da Silva, CUPE Air Canada Component,
(416) 839-9550; Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications representative, (613)

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