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WestJet FAs Claim They are paid less than minimum wage


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Are the WestJet FAs paid only by the hour or do they have a guaranteed monthly paycheck no matter the hours worked?  In other words are they working by the hour or for a set monthly amount?  In the past I was in management and I was paid a monthly salary and my working hours were whatever was needed to get the job done. My wife kept track for awhile and I was averaging 60plus hours a week for the same $$$$ as some peers who did a 9 to 5.  I was however not upset about this as I really enjoyed the job, the travel and the people I met around the world and of course I accepted the job with my eyes open.

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It doesn't matter how you slice the pie. It's a pie. Don't like the pie? Don't eat it. If you wish to get in to some kind of relationship with the baker in order to influence the recipe then by all means go ahead. But if you wish more pie, remember there is only so much pie to go around.

Sorry. A little late for International Pi day. :)

 

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Granted, I have limited exposure to unionized workplaces, but my brief experience leads me to believe that they do more good than they do harm and provide more benefit than damage. The “go some where else and choke on your pie” sentiment seems (to me) to originate with “A list” folks ever willing to throw new hires and B listers under the bus if it benefits them.  A similar, but slightly modified version of this is the “loyalty vs disloyalty”  notion causing despair in Career Manager circles within the RCAF. The bulk of that hemorrhagic malady is mostly self inflicted in my view but that’s another thread.   

As suggested by others here, there is nothing wrong with working toward fairness, equity and reasonableness in scheduling and compensation. I always enjoyed working with senior Capts and FAs (especially together) who got caught, by circumstances or reserve, working a tough or unpleasant junior pairing. Want to hear real whining… it wasn't me calling Crew Sched with a mouth full of pie.

And yet, perversely enough, I have likely proved your theory correct as I’m one of the few (I think) who returned to the RCAF because I didn’t care for the taste of the pie man's wares…

Edited by Wolfhunter
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On the issue of minimum wage, it needs to pointed out that increasing it so drastically doesn't help anyone, except some politician who is seeking some quick last minute votes! In fact it increases inflation substantially, reducing the buying power of everyone, including the people it meant to help. It will also price some people out of work. Minimum wage jobs are not to be viewed as career jobs, rather entry level jobs usually occupied by students or those starting out in the workforce.

Instead universal education and higher training should be encouraged and supported so that they produce more higher-paying career jobs. Such short-sighted knee-jerk reactions and attempts at grabbing some last minute votes, like suddenly increasing minimum wage, like reducing hydro costs after years of increasing it when the government mismanaged its production and squandered billions of tax dollars, are nothing but a pathetic attempt at political longevity.  Those with some insight can see it for what it is.

On the subject, it is understood that some jobs are not based on a normal 40 hour weeks, therefore their pay structure is different. This is also reflected in EI requirement of insurable hours that does not reflect a 40 hour week which is why if FAs go on EI, they still collect the full benefit equal to those working regular 40 hour weeks. Therefore to compare it to a regular job and minimum wage is disingenuous. A responsible journalist would research these special traits and features BEFORE publishing a story out of context to promote unionism and/or sell some papers. 

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Just because a job isn't paid by the duty hour, doesn't mean that any wage is acceptable or that minimum wage doesn't apply. This is the judo that airline payrolls perform and in a tightening labour market it is bound to be challenged. Anyone paid by "billable hours" like pilots and FAs, is fully right to challenge the number of non-billable hours that they are compelled to spend at work in service of their employer. Especially those with no representation. If you are already under contract, well, tough nuts. Best those of us can hope for is more effective duty rigs, minimums, etc. But if you're sore about it, AND aren't a union member, there seems a pretty clear path to getting it fixed. 

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Guess what happens when there is no credit for deadheading? Lots of scheduled deadheads.

Guess what happens when there is no penalty for waiting time between flights? Lots of waiting time.

Guess what happens when there is no minimum daily credit guarantee? Lots of pairings that start and end with a 1-2 hour credit  (making the total pairing value inferior).

Give an inch - they take a mile.

If this is happening and you are not already paying union dues then take a look in the mirror and you will see the problem.

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What about establishing a monthly minimum pay and benefits. Then the employer can assign whatever cockamamie schedule they wish (within CARs of coarse) and see if it works. They will either thrive by discovering the secrets of Human-Factor-Economics or crumble under book-offs, resignations and general insubordination.

Just a theory... Simplify.

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41 minutes ago, GTFA said:

What about establishing a monthly minimum pay and benefits. Then the employer can assign whatever cockamamie schedule they wish (within CARs of coarse) and see if it works. They will either thrive by discovering the secrets of Human-Factor-Economics or crumble under book-offs, resignations and general insubordination.

Just a theory... Simplify.

Do the WestJet FAs presently bid on their blocks or are they assigned?  

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I friend is senior in BC's social services. She has staff that they can't assign cases to due to incompetence. One individual has had no case file for 6 years! They show up and drink coffee, can't be fired, won't quit - money is good and pension gets better the longer they stay.

Yup, unions make everything just ducky.

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6 hours ago, Leeroy said:

I friend is senior in BC's social services. She has staff that they can't assign cases to due to incompetence. One individual has had no case file for 6 years! They show up and drink coffee, can't be fired, won't quit - money is good and pension gets better the longer they stay.

Yup, unions make everything just ducky.

For every story like that I can tell you two about non-union companies where the employees are forced to work unsafe and unfair - threatened with dismissal if they don't comply with the arbitrary whims of their greedy boss.  

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The WestJet FAs used socialized bidding like the pilots and at Rouge. It has its pluses and minuses but most of the WestJet FAs are able to use Flica to trade themselves into a better schedule.

I am getting a little tired of the “if you see us in the terminal, we’re not getting paid” song and dance. And if they think they’re still going to get their current hourly rate per duty hour then they’re dreaming. If CUPE is promising this then it’s very much misrepresenting it’s own airline experience.

 

Edited by Critter
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1 hour ago, seeker said:

For every story like that I can tell you two about non-union companies where the employees are forced to work unsafe and unfair - threatened with dismissal if they don't comply with the arbitrary whims of their greedy boss.  

Best companies with the best compensation and best working conditions were NON-union shops.  They did everything in their power to ensure the staff were happy to avoid the extra costs brought on by a union. 

My few stints in union shops jaded me because I paid the dues but when I needed something it wasn't there.  They talk a good talk but all they want is the dues. plain and simple.

 

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The FA's have 3 options....

1. Join a Union and see what comes to pass....

2. Suck it up and work as is....

3. Leave and fine another job.....

The pros and cons of a Union are just opinions of those that have worked with a Union and those that have not.....and that discussion could go on "until the cows come home"

Time to move on....5aafa0c468aae_giveadamn.gif.f793aa84ae0c555470f26aa2346b9894.gif.

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1 hour ago, boestar said:

Best companies with the best compensation and best working conditions were NON-union shops.  They did everything in their power to ensure the staff were happy to avoid the extra costs brought on by a union. 

 

I don't disagree.  What's that saying; the best system of government is a benevolent king and the the worst is a malevolent king.  

I have worked for excellent non-union companies but what usually happens is the smart, personable owner who built the thing eventually brings his son or daughter (or some manager) into the business and the screws begin to tighten.  Inequities, unfairness and grudges form and there's no going back - this is what I think happened at Westjet.

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21 hours ago, rudder said:

Guess what happens when there is no credit for deadheading? Lots of scheduled deadheads.

Guess what happens when there is no penalty for waiting time between flights? Lots of waiting time.

Guess what happens when there is no minimum daily credit guarantee? Lots of pairings that start and end with a 1-2 hour credit  (making the total pairing value inferior).

Give an inch - they take a mile.

If this is happening and you are not already paying union dues then take a look in the mirror and you will see the problem.

This sounds like a union advertisement! Which I guess is allowed. Speaking of dues, if memory serves, I seem to recall 3 days after they dried-up after Canada 3000's bankruptcy, ALPA packed its  bags and shut down the web site that was supposed to help its members relocate to other jobs. Just saying...

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2 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

2. Suck it up and work as is....

3. Leave and fine another job.....

When I left, I left for better options that awaited me outside the door... it was pretty simple and very safe; I got off easy.

So, I can only speak for myself here, but were those options not available to me, the "choke on your pie" attitude would have catapulted me into a union position and served as serious motivation. In other words what I'm saying is there is a fourth option here... stay and fight. Management types may wish to consider the effect their rhetoric has, or may have, on the motivations and combativeness of the employee group as a whole and specifically on those individuals willing (or worse, eager) to step up and fight. Pi$$ed off can be highly motivating, it borders on obsessive for me and you would come to dislike pie.

I think WJ has entered a new era (for good or ill) and this discussion (the tone of discussion) would have seemed out of place in the past. The evolution of companies, countries and democracies follows a predictable path... there may be lessons here for all of us. Cheers

Edited by Wolfhunter
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On 2018-03-17 at 5:09 PM, GTFA said:

It doesn't matter how you slice the pie. It's a pie. Don't like the pie? Don't eat it. If you wish to get in to some kind of relationship with the baker in order to influence the recipe then by all means go ahead. But if you wish more pie, remember there is only so much pie to go around.

Sorry. A little late for International Pi day. :)

 

Well, sometimes the one who gets to cut the pie - or the chocolate cake - cuts themselves a bigger slice than perhaps they should. And sometimes, they cut the pie differently this time than they did in the past, leaving only crumbs for the rest when in the past, it seems like all shared in the abundance. And sometimes the pie does grow, but the slices don't grow proportionately for all, just for some.

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5 minutes ago, dagger said:

Well, sometimes the one who gets to cut the pie - or the chocolate cake - cuts themselves a bigger slice than perhaps they should. And sometimes, they cut the pie differently this time than they did in the past, leaving only crumbs for the rest when in the past, it seems like all shared in the abundance. And sometimes the pie does grow, but the slices don't grow proportionately for all, just for some.

But does a union insure the pie will always be divided equitably? In my experience it just makes the pie taste lousy.

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4 hours ago, MD2 said:

This sounds like a union advertisement! Which I guess is allowed. Speaking of dues, if memory serves, I seem to recall 3 days after they dried-up after Canada 3000's bankruptcy, ALPA packed its  bags and shut down the web site that was supposed to help its members relocate to other jobs. Just saying...

They flushed us so fast (another verb might be more appropriate) after 9 November then had the audacity to take dues from what little of a final paycheque we got at the end of the month.

There was no national co-ordination of response by the thousand or so of sub-contractors responsible for administering EI policy. Two pilots actually received alternative aircraft endorsements; others were told as they had flown on average only 90 hours a month, they didn't qualify for full-time compensation.

A single telephone call from the head of ALPA to a responsible Minister of the Crown might have fixed that. The call was never made and we all ended up blowing in the wind...

I still get their magazine, 17 years later. It goes from my mailbox directly into a recycle bin.

HAVING SAID THAT, in my particular circumstance, C3 going out of business was one of the best things that happened for me. I was able to do many things and see many parts of the world I would not have otherwise seen. I didn't have to fight with crew scheduling; I didn't have to worry about seniority; I didn't have to worry about starting over again at some other Canadian carrier at less than minimum wage; I didn't ever have to wear a hat again.

'nuf said...

Edited by Moon The Loon
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On 3/18/2018 at 9:00 AM, MD2 said:

On the issue of minimum wage, it needs to pointed out that increasing it so drastically doesn't help anyone, except some politician who is seeking some quick last minute votes! In fact it increases inflation substantially, reducing the buying power of everyone, including the people it meant to help. It will also price some people out of work. Minimum wage jobs are not to be viewed as career jobs, rather entry level jobs usually occupied by students or those starting out in the workforce.

Instead universal education and higher training should be encouraged and supported so that they produce more higher-paying career jobs. Such short-sighted knee-jerk reactions and attempts at grabbing some last minute votes, like suddenly increasing minimum wage, like reducing hydro costs after years of increasing it when the government mismanaged its production and squandered billions of tax dollars, are nothing but a pathetic attempt at political longevity.  Those with some insight can see it for what it is.

On the subject, it is understood that some jobs are not based on a normal 40 hour weeks, therefore their pay structure is different. This is also reflected in EI requirement of insurable hours that does not reflect a 40 hour week which is why if FAs go on EI, they still collect the full benefit equal to those working regular 40 hour weeks. Therefore to compare it to a regular job and minimum wage is disingenuous. A responsible journalist would research these special traits and features BEFORE publishing a story out of context to promote unionism and/or sell some papers. 

Education or not the jobs still need to get doen. Highly educated flight attendnats make no more money.

Someone still needs to clean toilets and do the "McJobs" unless you suggest we just import foreign workers for these tasks.

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5 hours ago, MD2 said:

This sounds like a union advertisement! Which I guess is allowed. 

A company will get the union it deserves. That applies to WJ, Porter, AC, Skyregional, Jazz, Transat, Sunwing, Morningstar or any other airline.

Employers will never admit that their actions and their decisions are typically the catalyst for local unionization.

Having said that, dealing with unionization is not rocket science unless you are so blinded with myopic animus for organized labour that you don’t simply deal with it like any other change in business environment. WJ is turning out to be a case in point.

 

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1 hour ago, rudder said:

A company will get the union it deserves. That applies to WJ, Porter, AC, Skyregional, Jazz, Transat, Sunwing, Morningstar or any other airline.

Employers will never admit that their actions and their decisions are typically the catalyst for local unionization.

Having said that, dealing with unionization is not rocket science unless you are so blinded with myopic animus for organized labour that you don’t simply deal with it like any other change in business environment. WJ is turning out to be a case in point.

 

You missed (or did you) my point about ALPA's track record, but facts are there. Unions are NOT the panacea, a good relationship is and it doesn't cost anything. 

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2 hours ago, Bobcaygeon said:

Education or not the jobs still need to get doen. Highly educated flight attendnats make no more money.

Someone still needs to clean toilets and do the "McJobs" unless you suggest we just import foreign workers for these tasks.

Yes, but those are entry level jobs and need not pay so much. Increasing minimum wage so drastically and so quickly increases the cost of basically everything by a similar measure and results in inflation which tightens monetary policy, softening the housing market and the stock market causing a chain reaction which is not good for the economy.

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2 hours ago, Moon The Loon said:

They flushed us so fast (another verb might be more appropriate) after 9 November then had the audacity to take dues from what little of a final paycheque we got at the end of the month.

There was no national co-ordination of response by the thousand or so of sub-contractors responsible for administering EI policy. Two pilots actually received alternative aircraft endorsements; others were told as they had flown on average only 90 hours a month, they didn't qualify for full-time compensation.

A single telephone call from the head of ALPA to a responsible Minister of the Crown might have fixed that. The call was never made and we all ended up blowing in the wind...

I still get their magazine, 17 years later. It goes from my mailbox directly into a recycle bin.

HAVING SAID THAT, in my particular circumstance, C3 going out of business was one of the best things that happened for me. I was able to do many things and see many parts of the world I would not have otherwise seen. I didn't have to fight with crew scheduling; I didn't have to worry about seniority; I didn't have to worry about starting over again at some other Canadian carrier at less than minimum wage; I didn't ever have to wear a hat again.

'nuf said...

Indeed a perfect storm: the liberal regime wanting half the company for co-signing a lousy 75 million loan, 911 effect, mergers cost, unions attacks....ancient history!

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