WestJetters deserve better than secret videotaping onboard

hpouliot Uncategorized

It’s been a rough couple of days for WestJet CEO Ed Sims, after multiple news reports highlighted the lack of respect for WestJet Cabin Crew from management.

Sims was put on the hot seat by reporters on Tuesday at the company AGM in Calgary about a report that WestJet had been enlisting its Gold-level flyers to secretly videotape flight attendants in their workplace. Here’s what Sims had to say.

“It’s relatively commonplace now.”

It’s not. CUPE represents 12,000 flight attendants working at nine airlines across Canada, and would fully oppose any other airline trying to enlist its customers to spy on their own employees. Across the industry in Canada, prohibitions against recording onboard without consent are the rule, not the exception.

In fact, WestJet’s own tariff prohibits photographing, videotaping and recording without consent. Was WestJet really asking customers to break its own rules?

When asked if the plan to record onboard aircraft has been “shelved”, Sims gave two contradictory answers. First, he stated: “It was never a plan.” Then he immediately interrupted himself and started over: “It was part of a plan to ensure that we had the richest library of content around ours and our competitors’ services.”

WestJet’s “plan” to covertly videotape employees and create a “rich library” was never about celebrating their work. Recognition programs that respectfully and efficiently celebrate the great work of employees already exist at WestJet. Teams assigned to WestJet’s web and social media feedback channels already pull feedback from customers on a regular basis and give a High-5 recognition to Cabin Crew who go above and beyond.

“I apologize unreservedly to any flight attendants for those who were upset or offended by that action.”

There’s a big difference between someone saying they’re sorry you were offended (or that they got caught), instead of apologizing for what they actually did. Violating trust and privacy and disrespecting your employees is a serious matter. WestJetters deserve a real apology from their CEO.

Things could have been very different for Sims this week if he and his management team were willing to show respect and care for the basic rights of their employees.

It’s time to get the respect at work that WestJetters deserve. Sign your card today – and if you’ve already signed yours, get a friend to sign one too.