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UPDATE: Statement of solidarity with Air Canada workers

The Council of Canadians supports the Air Canada workers now on strike. We will not cross their picket lines nor will we fly Air Canada under any circumstances. When travel is essential, we will consider options other than flying or – on a limited basis – other unionized carriers. We will support CAW members and any of Air Canada’s unions who take strike action to ensure fairness for Air Canada workers.

CBC reports, “Air travellers across the country face delays after Air Canada customer service and sales staff went on strike at midnight when their union failed to reach an agreement with the airline. …The Canadian Auto Workers has (also) called on employees with other unions not to cross the picket lines, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and baggage handlers. …CAW president Ken Lewenza said the union, which represents the 3,800 workers, had tentatively agreed with the airline on some contract issues, but the two sides remained far apart on pensions and wages.”

Media reports note, “The union wants to see wage improvements after several years of cuts or freezes. On pensions, the union is opposed to changes that could reduce benefits by as much as 40 per cent for current employees. The airline has also made the proposal to move to a defined contribution plan, limited to new hires only, from a defined benefit plan which has a guaranteed payout. …(An Air Canada spokesperson) said it was standard industry practice for new hires to receive lesser benefits. …The CAW has called such a change a non-starter, because it would create a two-tier system, and believes it would weaken the defined benefit plan because there would be no new entrants.”