Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions deliver clear priorities for federal airline relief package

March 28, 2020

OTTAWA – Today, Canada’s airline unions met with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Transportation to share the concerns of aviation industry workers and to provide solutions to ensure the sector’s viability. Chief among their priorities is to ensure that any federal financial aid package responds to the needs of workers still on the job as well as the thousands of airline employees recently laid off.

Representing 40,000 employees, Canada’s airline unions participating in the meeting included the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Canada, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) as well as the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

“A key priority for today’s call was to ensure that front-line aviation employees still working have the appropriate personal protective equipment,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “This includes pre-board screeners, flight crews, and passenger agents who are working to ensure the safety of both employees and the travelling public.”

Union leaders urged the federal government to consider measures similar to those in U.S. Congress where affected airline and airport workers are to be provided top-up benefits similar to those in U.S. Congress where 80% of wages are guaranteed. The Unions also proposed that employers extend health benefit plans and ensure pensionable service is accrued under retirement plans. Moreover, they also wanted to ensure that any federal aid allows laid-off employees to return to payroll and maintains employment levels.

Unions also asserted that any government support be accompanied by tight restrictions on executive compensation. This includes bonuses and stock options, share buybacks and dividend payments, as well as debt repayment designed to increase shareholder value.

“Air travel is a vital part of Canada’s transportation network and economy, and the success of any federal financial aid package will require worker supports,” added Yussuff. “Canada’s unions welcome the federal government’s efforts to work with Labour to ensure the airline industry will continue to flourish into the future.”

To arrange an interview, please contact:

CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

CUPE
Philippe Gagnon
613-894-0146

UNIFOR
Hamid Osman
Hamid.Osman@unifor.org
647-448-2823

IAMAW
Frank Saptel
fsaptel@iamaw.org
416-386-1789

ALPA
media@alpa.org

ACPA
Kym Robertson
krobertson@acpa.ca

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