Union 101: how CUPE works and how it can help you

hpouliot Uncategorized

In short, being a union member means better pay, better benefits, and better job security. For more detail read below.

What is a union?

It’s a group of employees who organize and act together to improve their working conditions and protect their rights. In short, the union is you (and your co-workers)!

The union’s four main jobs are…

  1. Negotiating a contract (or “collective agreement”) that sets out working conditions, salary, and benefits
  2. Advocating for members and ensuring the collective agreement is enforced
  3. Continuously working to improve working conditions
  4. Creating a better society for everyone

What will a union do for me?

A union will help you earn more now and have a better retirement. On average, unionized workers in Canada earn about $5.28 more per hour than non-union. Unionized women earn about $7.10 more per hour. Only 30% of non-unionized workers have a pension; 80% of union members do. Unionized flight attendants in Canada have better daily pay guarantees and better per diems and wardrobe allowances.

Unions provide protection against unfair treatment at work, negotiating and enforcing collective agreements to ensure everyone is paid and treated fairly, without discrimination. They foster job security for their members so they can make plans for themselves and their families. They help create safe and rewarding workplaces.

Where do my dues go?

They’re invested in making your job and your life better. They pay for the lawyers, health and safety officers, and national representatives who will advance and protect your rights at work. They also help pay for the every day activities of your local, like office space, computers and equipment, or funding campaigns to raise awareness about issues affecting flight attendants.

WestJetters ultimately will decide how much they will pay in union dues. CUPE National’s standard rate is 0.85% of gross wages – that’s less than a penny for every dollar earned.

What about seniority?

CUPE won’t force a seniority system on WestJetters, but the current bidding system can’t accommodate all of us any more. Right now, there’s nothing stopping WestJet from imposing this system. With CUPE, we would be empowered to vote on a system and to find new solutions as a group, instead of having one imposed on us.

Will I be laid off if there’s a strike?

Without a union, that’s completely up to WestJet. With a union, members can negotiate protections for work stoppages like strike pay and layoff protection.