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CUPE files complaint in ongoing dispute with WestJet


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CUPE files complaint in ongoing dispute with WestJet

WestJet is facing more turbulence when it comes to its workforce, just weeks after a potential pilot's strike was averted — but this time it involves flight attendants.

Union claims the airport, at WestJet's request, is blocking organizers from talking to flight attendants

CBC News · Posted: Jun 12, 2018 6:32 AM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
CUPE has filed a complaint with federal regulators, claiming that both WestJet and the Calgary Airport Authority are engaging in unfair labour practices by blocking union organizers from talking to flight attendants at airport exits.

WestJet is facing more turbulence with its workforce, just weeks after a potential pilot's strike was averted — but this time it involves flight attendants. 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has filed a complaint with federal regulators, claiming that both WestJet and the Calgary Airport Authority are engaging in unfair labour practices.

They claim the airport, at WestJet's request, is blocking union organizers from talking to flight attendants at airport exits.

Ella Henry is a lawyer for the union. She says flight attendants are in a unique situation because their work locations are always changing.

"When employees are not working, when they're on break, when they're on their way to work, coming back from work, employees have the right to talk about joining a union and to take action to that end," she said.

"The workplace is the natural location for employees to talk to each other about a union, and WestJet flight attendants, and flight attendants generally, have a bit of a unique workplace. They don't all work together with set 9-5 shifts. They don't all work in the same place. In fact, they might be all around the world.

"And so the ability to communicate with flight attendants in person at airports is an integral part of CUPE's organizing drive.

westjet-flight-attendant-pay-scale.jpgFull-time flight attendants are expected to fly 80 hours a month and pay is based on years of experience. Employees are compensated for how many hours they spend in the air, not the length of their shift. (CBC News)

"And without any legitimate business justification for attempting to limit CUPE's ability to contact flight attendants at the airport, it really is just an attempt to interfere in the rights of flight attendants to form a union. And that's contrary to the Canada Labour Code," she added.

David Fleming, an organizer with CUPE's WestJet flight attendant campaign, said some tactics by the company and airport officials have been perceived as intimidating.

"Saying that you don't want a union is different than engaging in tactics that intimidate workers, or intimidate employees from joining a union," he said.

"In this instance we are claiming that there was at least one communication that threatened to close down the company if workers were to unionize — everyone's going to lose their jobs.

"That crosses the line from communication about joining a union to, it creates a culture of hostility and intimidation around it."

Airport officials wouldn't comment on the complaint, saying they haven't yet received a copy.

WestJet also declined to comment while the matter is before the industrial relations board.

 

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Why is CUPE objecting to a pay method that is pretty much industry standard (ie, not length of shift)? Isn’t it similar at other carrier CUPE represents?

Seems like they’re trying to sell the FA group on something an arbitrator would never agree to based on industry standard.

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This sort of complaint drives me crazy too.  It doesn't matter what the pay system is; flight time, air time, shift time or mileage!  It's:  how much do you get paid vs how much work you do (and how much value you bring to the company).  If the pay system is based on flight time the rate is higher and the employees need to negotiate a minimum daily and monthly guarantee which, effectively, pays for the ground time.  Many FAs I talk to seem to think that they should get paid for every hour at work - paid their current flight time hour rate for every hour at work!  Sorry, you're not worth that much.  If you want a pay system that pays for every hour at work you will be forced to accept getting paid much, much less than $50.00/hour (and, in the end, get the same paycheque).

Edited by seeker
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21 hours ago, seeker said:

This sort of complaint drives me crazy too.  It doesn't matter what the pay system is; flight time, air time, shift time or mileage!  It's:  how much do you get paid vs how much work you do (and how much value you bring to the company).  If the pay system is based on flight time the rate is higher and the employees need to negotiate a minimum daily and monthly guarantee which, effectively, pays for the ground time.  Many FAs I talk to seem to think that they should get paid for every hour at work - paid their current flight time hour rate for every hour at work!  Sorry, you're not worth that much.  If you want a pay system that pays for every hour at work you will be forced to accept getting paid much, much less than $50.00/hour (and, in the end, get the same paycheque).

I thought the complaint was that the airport was blocking CUPE from canvassing?

 

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3 hours ago, moeman said:

I thought the complaint was that the airport was blocking CUPE from canvassing?

 

Hah!  Yes, you're right.  I read the article above and then read the hot linked one in blue about the FAs being paid less than minimum wage and posted about that one.

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