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Westjet pilots strike vote


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May 8, 2018 11:25 am
Updated: May 8, 2018 11:28 am

Pilots demand better working conditions outside WestJet headquarters as airline holds AGM

globcalgary-jill-croteau1.jpg?quality=60 By Jill Croteau Reporter  Global News About 150 pilots in uniform all lined up outside WestJet's headquarters in Calgary on Tuesday morning to show they are serious about encouraging management to negotiate a fair contract.

About 150 pilots in uniform all lined up outside WestJet's headquarters in Calgary on Tuesday morning to show they are serious about encouraging management to negotiate a fair contract.Jill Croteau/ Global NewsThey carried picket signs but weren’t on strike. The WestJet pilots, along with some of their peers from competitor airlines, lined the sidewalk to show management they are serious about encouraging management to negotiate a fair contract.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) stated they want fair wages, better working conditions and better job security.

“It’s time to show management this pilot group is not content with substandard wages. We will fight for a contract,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen with the ALPA Master Executive Council.

Pilots said they’re frustrated the airline is outsourcing their jobs to staff WetJet’s new low-cost carrier, Swoop.

The pilots stood outside the headquarters ahead of the WestJet AGM where shareholders gathered.

Late last month, the union representing WestJet pilots announced it was calling a strike vote as an agreement still hasn’t been reached with WestJet management after months of negotiation.

The strike authorization vote ends May 10. The 21-day cooling off period ends May 10.

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Substandard wages? I thought it was working conditions similar to the “other” guys? 

I’m sure the office 9 to 5 support staff were thrilled to see the unhappy pilots standing outside their windows. 

Edited by blues deville
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4 hours ago, blues deville said:

Substandard wages? I thought it was working conditions similar to the “other” guys? 

I’m sure the office 9 to 5 support staff were thrilled to see the unhappy pilots standing outside their windows. 

To that I say, go get a pilot license. Everywhere is hiring.

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I'm sure those office workers make wages comparable to other office jobs in the city with similar levels of responsibility, and have similar conditions and expectations...

Like being paid a minimum amount when you're at work... 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, j.k. said:

I'm sure those office workers make wages comparable to other office jobs in the city with similar levels of responsibility, and have similar conditions and expectations...

Like being paid a minimum amount when you're at work... 

 

 

Maybe it comes as a shock to some but many of those office workers put in a lot of hours in excess of 40 hours/week, free. 

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6 hours ago, CanadaEH said:

Maybe it comes as a shock to some but many of those office workers put in a lot of hours in excess of 40 hours/week, free. 

Are they salaried management?

Are you saying call centre employees, admin assistants, payroll, accounts receivable, etc. are all working OT for free? 

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imo rallying at the AGM at such a critical juncture, much like conducting a strike vote during negotiations, are bad diplomacy and poor negotiations. It's as though ALPA is putting on a show for the public, as opposed to focusing on getting results with the company in private. Pilots from Air Canada joining is also poor taste...way to fan the flames!

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1 hour ago, MD2 said:

imo rallying at the AGM at such a critical juncture, much like conducting a strike vote during negotiations, are bad diplomacy and poor negotiations. It's as though ALPA is putting on a show for the public, as opposed to focusing on getting results with the company in private. Pilots from Air Canada joining is also poor taste...way to fan the flames!

Seriously?  WJ management has had since last September to negotiate a contract.  Instead, they have slow played negotiations and are attempting to continue this strategy so they can get Swoop started up with outside labour.  It will be nigh impossible to get Swoop shutdown if it gets started up.

Its now or never for the WJA pilots if they want to maintain/improve their WAWCON and stave off 50 years of whipsawing.

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There's another thread regarding WJ's asking pax to film their FA's working.

With the kind of genius that came up with and approved that nazi like approach to labour relations guiding the ship, it's hard to imagine there won't be a number of strikes getting underway soon.

 

 

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3 hours ago, MD2 said:

imo rallying at the AGM at such a critical juncture, much like conducting a strike vote during negotiations, are bad diplomacy and poor negotiations. It's as though ALPA is putting on a show for the public, as opposed to focusing on getting results with the company in private. Pilots from Air Canada joining is also poor taste...way to fan the flames!

Seems perfectly fine to me. What's the big deal of picketing a shareholders' meeting anyway? It's not like they are important - just a dog and pony show, mainly for pensioners because only they have the time to go, and a lot of them go for the donuts and coffee. Would you rather ALPA pull a CUPE and block the roadways into Terminal 3 here in Toronto? I guarantee that would capture a lot more attention and chase away more future bookings. Picketing a shareholders' meeting is pretty tame stuff and if anything, shows ALPA is not ready to threaten summer bookings in a serious way. Believe me, they could do a lot more damage if they really wanted to, but right now want to give the company every chance to make a reasonable deal.

Edited by dagger
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5 hours ago, MD2 said:

imo rallying at the AGM at such a critical juncture, much like conducting a strike vote during negotiations, are bad diplomacy and poor negotiations. It's as though ALPA is putting on a show for the public, as opposed to focusing on getting results with the company in private. Pilots from Air Canada joining is also poor taste...way to fan the flames!

Absolutely it's fine.

Bad diplomacy and poor negotiations? Seriously?

Sounds like that's all it's been from WJ management. Bad diplomacy is selling out your most committed employee group to save a few bucks an hour on the front end in your latest fling idea... end running the union to try to launch it... then losing at the CIRB and doubling down... and still dragging out the negots with the goal of division.

We all know it's not cheaper to run Swoop separate, the duplication, the loss of flexibility, in staffing, utilisation, recovery, etc...

Division is the only goal in running it separate. Will the pushback crews make less? Dispatchers? Maintenance? Executives? of course not... just the pilots... That's bad faith. That's poor taste.

Good for the other crews that stood with WJ pilots. We aren't competing with one another as professionals, the airlines compete with each others' product, while we run safe operations with similar levels of responsibility assumed and experience required. Too long we've been targeted and diminished, enough is enough. 

US crews from Legacy to LCCs to ULCCs all pay within a few bucks of each other in 737s & 320s, all have trip and duty guarantees, all have competitive contracts. It's time for Canadian crews to achieve the same.

WJ pilots deserve it. AC & Transat & Flair & others deserve it. We aren't competing with each other, let the CEOs & MBAs do that, BUT NOT ON OUR BACKS.

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7 hours ago, j.k. said:

Absolutely it's fine.

Bad diplomacy and poor negotiations? Seriously?

Sounds like that's all it's been from WJ management...

Good for the other crews that stood with WJ pilots. We aren't competing with one another as professionals, the airlines compete with each others' product, while we run safe operations with similar levels of responsibility assumed and experience required...

I understand your point; it is nice to show solidarity with pilots of other airlines and support them in their struggles. And not saying that WestJet management has been flawless, at the same time there are certain things to consider with cool heads and less emotions.

- This is not a national industry where all pilots are members of a national organization and can port their experience and seniority from company to company, therefore, they do compete with pilots of other airlines to some extent. Meaning, if WestJet is no more, Air Canada pilots are not able to offer their brothers and sisters at WestJet jobs at their current pay, let alone higher pay which WestJet pilots are demanding. All their experience and brotherhood will only go so far as to get them an entry level job paying them a fraction of their current earnings. It would be like Sunwing, Transat, Porter, or any other airlines offering them jobs, simply none are good options because they have to start at entry levels. This is the status of the industry at the moment and therefore even though pilots of other airlines, including Air Canada, may have the best of intentions, however their support of WestJet pilots does not go beyond rhetoric and therefore they have no business to picket at WestJet's AGM, unless of course they are shareholders in which case they need not be in Air Canada uniform. Frankly I'm surprised Air Canada corporate has allowed their uniforms to be worn picketing another airline. This is bad business, bad competition.

- WestJet pilots do not really NEED Air Canada pilots' support, they have done business without it for over two decades; they don't even NEED ALPA, they have worked without it for over two decades as well; however they do NEED the support and good will of WestJet management, because they simply cannot do business without them. So while it's nice to have sympathy and support of other pilots or unions, they absolutely NEED the understanding and good will of WestJet corporate to excel and to grow, and vice versa. This is the same for any airline by the way. Therefore it behooves WestJet pilots to consider these facts and engage with the company any way possible.

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I agreed with the substance of your post right up to the last paragraph.

Management has, or should have paid more attention to the 'goodwill' part of the labour relations equations.

It looks to me like the suits got so caught up serving the wants of the investment community and themselves that the notion of team WJ got lost somewhere along the way, which opened the doors to a new type of team, unionism.

   

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20 minutes ago, Ex 9A Guy said:

Results are in.

95% of pilots voted. 91% in favour.

any idea of what the percentage of pilots who actually voted was?

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21 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

any idea of what the percentage of pilots who actually voted was?

95% of pilots voted. ALL pilots whether union members or not were eligible to vote. 95% of 1500+/- voted.  Out of that, 91% voted in favour. so approximately 1300 out of 1500 voted in favour,  130 against and 70 didn't cast a ballot.

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Now, things will get interesting. The headlines are being written, and both sides have to gear up for the short strokes. Management has to start making an offer that recognizes the permanence of the union and move on some key demands, while the union has to be ready to make compromises, even saving some issues for a second contract negotiation. Basically, there are two inexperienced parties (Yes, ALPA has plenty of experience but the pilot group as a whole is new, and many pilots haven't been in the middle of a contentious negotiation.) The first contract arbitration is the obvious out, but a comprehensive deal would serve both parties better.

Also good PR move by the union not to threaten the Victoria Day weekend. 

 

ALPA's statement

 

WestJet Pilots Vote to Authorize a Strike, but Remain Focused on Negotiations

Union Leaders Can Call Strike if Contract Negotiations Break Down

 

Calgary, AB—With eight days left in the 21-day cooling-off period, WestJet pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), sent another strong message to WestJet management with an overwhelming vote of support for lawful job action or a strike. A 91 percent “yes” vote demonstrates WestJet pilots’ resolve for a fair contract that addresses the large gaps in proposals on total compensation, working conditions, and job security. 

“The goal is—and always has been—to secure a fair collective agreement that brings stability to the airline, and not to strike,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council. “The strong results of our strike vote and the excellent turnout at our informational picketing event earlier this week should provide management the added incentive it needs to bring serious proposals to the bargaining table that address our concerns.”

The pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action on May 19; however, the Association has committed to having no job action over the Victoria Day (May) long weekend as the collective bargaining continues so travel plans will be unaffected. 

Negotiators will now head to Halifax to continue negotiations starting next week and are committed to staying there for as long as it takes to get a deal done. 

“It’s clear WestJet pilots are ready to stand up for the fair contract we deserve—one that puts us in line with our peers across the industry,” continued Capt. McFadyen. “Our pilots have built this airline, and now it is time for our efforts to be properly recognized in terms of industry-standard compensation and working conditions, and real job security that prevents management from outsourcing our jobs.”

WestJet pilots hope to avoid taking any lawful job action. ALPA will keep the public informed of any developments toward reaching a contract up until the strike deadline. Learn more about the WestJet pilots’ journey for their first contract at www.alpa.org/wja. 

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 60,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the approximately 1,500 WestJet pilots and approximately 500 WestJet Encore pilots as well as pilots at Air Georgian, Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, First Air, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, and Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WestJetALPA and Facebook @WestJetPilots.

 

 

Edited by dagger
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Congrats. Outstanding participation and ballot result. And despite suggestions about the WJ pilots being ‘newbies’ at collective bargaining - many are former union members from their previous employers - they know what the stakes are and how seriously they take this round of negotiations. Imagine the very idea of seeing your livelihood contracted out?

WJ senior management look like the gang that can’t shoot straight.  Unexplanable commercial strategy and the worst labour relations in the present Canadian industry.

Stand up and give yourself a round of applause. I wonder when the WJ BOD (minus CB) will intervene to be the grown up in the room?

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