A message from Nathalie Stringer, Assistant Director of Organizing and Regional Services, CUPE
As a flight attendant for Air Transat in 1989, I got involved in organizing. It was our second attempt after having two different associations that did not work for us. Much like you, we had some questions about joining CUPE since they were a big union, we were a small company, and we had a sort of family relationship with our employer which we didn’t want to lose.
But ever since we joined CUPE, things have been on the rise. We made major gains in our working conditions over seven collective agreements while also working with our employer to keep the company growing, and the company culture alive.
For me, family is a priority. I am a mother of three and it is thanks to CUPE that we made the gains that allowed me to keep my career while having a family.
One of our great achievements, and one that makes me proudest, was the negotiation of better working conditions for pregnant and future-parent flight attendants, such as:
- Sixteen weeks preventative leave, paid at 66.6%, which they can take when they want and keep four for the end, funded 1/3 by the employee and 2/3 by the employer. In 2018, that will change to ¼ and ¾, respectively
- Avoid night flights on their bids. If a night flight ends up on their schedules they are removed, and paid 100% even if they do not replace another day flight for that same day.
- Ability to temporarily downgrade from flight director to flight attendant during pregnancy, as well as one year after return to work.
- Leave of absence for fertility treatments.
- Right to displace their vacation during pregnancy without any restrictions.
- One year of mini-blocks or one year of leave of absence after maternity and parental leave is completed.
- Ability to keep all benefits, such as flight passes; insurance, pension, seniority, and sick credits still accumulate.
- Two paid days off for spouse during or after childbirth.
- Fourteen days leave of absence for childbirth or adoption.
This is just a glimpse at one of the ways CUPE helped us improve the lives of so many Air Transat flight attendants who wanted to start a family.
CUPE empowered us to make those decisions, and they empowered us to go out and make them a reality. And CUPE gave us the tools we needed to keep making things better. It’s thanks to them that I am where I am today.