October 2016 to April 2017
After our last base tour, we met with the employer to continue negotiations with the help of a conciliation officer. After several more rounds of bargaining, we signed a tentative agreement. In the last half of November, we embarked on a road show to shop TA1. After visiting all bases, we opened the vote to TA1, and it was voted down by most the membership.
In January, the executive started hosting webinars and meetings across Canada to debrief and refocus on what issues were outstanding in TA1 to guide us when we resumed bargaining and what was required to get us to the deal. After the tour, we opened a strike mandate vote, and were proud of the solidarity we saw that got us a 94.6% strike mandate, and we wish to thank everyone that voted to support our bargaining effort one more time.
With high strike mandate in hand, we returned to the table to continue to negotiate and reached a tentative agreement. For the first few weeks of February, we embarked on another ratification tour to outline the changes and answer questions on the proposed tentative agreement. We opened the vote and TA2 was ratified on the 21st of February, 2017 by 89.7% of 780 total voters.
Once the TA was ratified, we sat with the Company to discuss rollout of new CA items. Sick bank, scheduling rules and items that were process driven have already been implemented from March 1 on. Other items are still outstanding or are not automated yet. Two items still pending are the red-eye restriction and the 3 in 17 waiver. From the first Collective Agreement, it took upwards of six months for some items to be implemented, and our goal is to introduce these two items as soon as possible.
As well, we have been working with the Company on ensuring the language of the CA is complete and accurate. Our expectation is that by the end of the base tour, we will have printed copies of the agreement available for everyone.
Bargaining was a hard and arduous process. It is only with the support of our fellow crew members that we were able to reach an agreement that far outpaces both all other airlines as well as almost all other federal sector jobs. Without your support, we could not have achieved this, so once again, on behalf of the bargaining committee, we wish to thank each and every one of you for your displays of support and solidarity.
The Council of Component Presidents (COCP) of the Airline Division have been working on a Safer Skies campaign for a number of years now. Since the last meeting, we have been moving forward with several initiatives. We have managed to have a private meeting with the Transportation Committee that makes recommendations to Transport Canada and the Minister of Transportation. Through diligent work from one of our members from Air Canada, Dominic Lavoie, we have obtained a report from Transport Canada in 2000. In the report, it is clear that moving to 1:50 does not provide an equivalent level of safety, and in fact TC management at the time felt that using that term did a disservice to the risk it puts everyone in the flying public in. They recommended that the move to 1:50 should not happen. Using this report, we’ve composed a lengthy submission to TC on why the ratio should be moved back to 1:40 and that we should be involved if ever they want to make the move in the future, as it’s our workplace and we should have a say.
Along those same lines, we have had our victory of Judicial Review 2 (regarding how Transport Canada approved the removal of “You and you, hold people back” from our shouted commands appealed. On March 30, I joined our legal team at the Federal Court house to listen to the proceedings. It strikes me as particularly odd that our own airline did not appeal this decision, only Transport Canada. Once the justices make their ruling, we will be updating everyone.
In the next few months, we will be hearing a judicial review on the regulation changes as well. It is our hope that with the report obtained, any judge will see that Transport Canada had no right to amend the CARS in the manner of which they did, and revert to the original regulations that maintained Canadian Aviation as one of the safest safety standards in the world.
The big take away from this is that we, along with the other airlines, are still fighting against the 1:50. We believe that Transport Canada acted without regard to its policies of public safety, and we will continue every effort to hold them accountable.
Grievances and Arbitrations
We have had several grievances during this period of time. We’ve had several terminations, and we are currently in arbitration for a matter that very much resembles a termination. As this is our first arbitration that we have not been able to settle, we are proceeding forward. We expect that this arbitration will take several days of hearings, and we look forward to a positive outcome.
Prior to the base tour, our Treasurer and I sat with the elected Trustees and closed the books of 2015 and 2016. The trustees did a very through and diligent job auditing our books, and I would like to thank them for their hard work to ensure that local funds were spent correctly. I would also like to thank our Treasurer, Martin Coursol for keeping such diligent records and ensuring our books are in order.
As we move away from bargaining, we are concentrating our efforts in working with the Company to ensure that all forms of our new agreement are adhered to. We will go through some growing pains, but I remain optimistic that our working conditions will continue to improve, and that we will continue to fight to ensure we don’t see a loss of work standards in the years to come.