Working for free
Over the past year, we have had many conversations with Cabin Crew Members about grooming aircraft. Many Cabin Crew Members do not think it’s fair that this responsibility falls almost entirely to them. Some suggest other employees might help in this effort, but it is clear Cabin Crew Members are the ones who do the bulk of this work.
Others have told us that they don’t mind doing it, but it does not seem fair that this work is unpaid. Depending on scheduling, grooming can take up an hour or more of unpaid work in a single duty day. That isn’t right.
Flight attendants organized with CUPE have negotiated collective agreements that address issues like grooming. CUPE flight attendants at Air Canada do not groom at all. At Air Transat, in the rare event they are required to groom the aircraft, they are compensated for this additional work.
Many factors determine your level of safety while grooming, like equipment, training, and frequency and volume of work.
It’s clear from our conversations with WestJetters that no one is looking out for your safety when it comes to grooming. People have experienced back and other injuries. Others have become sick from contact with contaminated seats or materials, and experienced cuts and needle pokes. These are serious concerns, but as it stands currently, if WestJetters want to raise them with management you are completely on your own.
Flight attendants organized with CUPE have active Health and Safety Committees with representatives who are trained by the union to advocate for the safety of flight attendants. For example, at Air Transat, flight attendants are provided with needle-proof gloves that protect them when they need to reach into seat pockets and other places they cannot see clearly. CUPE members also have regular access to health and safety experts on staff. When a CUPE member wants to raise a safety concern, the union is there to back them up and has the resources to fight for your safety.
WestJetters deserve to have someone standing up for their safety. CUPE is ready to be that strong voice for you.
Have you ever been injured or made sick from grooming? If so we want to know more about your experience. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll use your experience to build the case for a safer workplace. We aren’t certified yet but it is time to get this work going.
If you haven’t already signed your card to join CUPE, sign up today!