What happens next?

cbrenchley Uncategorized

On July 9, CUPE filed an application to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to represent flight attendants at WestJet’s Mainline and Swoop carriers. The CIRB is now reviewing CUPE’s application until July 26, but the decision could take some time after that. We will keep you up to date as things progress. Here’s what happens next while we wait for the CIRB’s ruling on certifying CUPE to represent WestJetters.

CIRB check-ins

As a normal part of this process, the CIRB will check in with a selection of card-signers to authenticate their cards. Don’t be alarmed if you hear from CIRB staff over the next few weeks.

Statutory freeze

Now that CUPE’s application is in, a “statutory freeze” has kicked in. This means all your working conditions, wages, benefits, as well as the company’s policies and practices, are locked in until your sign your first collective agreement. WestJet cannot take any of these things away.

In other words, it’s business as usual, and things that were in progress will continue. For example, we expect to hear news about the WestJet-WCCA MOA. The statutory freeze does not prevent improvements that both the employer and the union agree to.

Stronger together

You’ll note that CUPE’s application included both Mainline WestJet and Swoop flight attendants. This is in line with the agreement already struck between WestJet and the pilots union, ALPA. We hope to bring WestJet Encore flight attendants into our union soon too. We know that we’re stronger together.

What do we do now?
  1. Keep signing cards. Now that the application is filed with the CIRB, the $5 application fee is no longer necessary for Mainline or Swoop CCMs who sign cards – but it is necessary for Encore. Signing a card helps your union grow in strength as our membership increases and gathers contact info to grow our activist network and send important updates to WestJetters. It’s an absolutely critical part of building momentum towards your very first collective agreement.
  2. Support Encore Cabin Crew. The campaign to collect CUPE cards for WestJet Encore is ongoing and the momentum has never been stronger. With your help, we can make a fair contract and strong representation for Encore flight attendants a reality, and strengthen representation for flight attendants at Mainline and Swoop. Encourage your Encore colleagues to sign a CUPE card and pay the $5 fee and help get those cards in as soon as possible!
  3. Pass mainline and Encore cards to activists. You can contact activists on this list to get your cards in. And finally, our activists are continuing their outstanding work moving this drive forward. We can’t thank them enough for their phenomenal dedication to uniting WestJet Cabin Crew across the board with a strong union that’s dedicated to them.
Stay Tuned

We will keep you informed as things progress. If you know other WestJetters who want updates, tell them to sign up at westjet.cupe.ca. It’s the best way to cut down on rumours, get information directly from us.

In the near future we will be moving forward with addressing issues like how your local will be structured (ex: what your by-laws will say about how your executive and other committees will be structured). These are all decisions that WestJetters will make together.

CUPE files to represent WestJet flight attendants

hpouliot Uncategorized

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has filed an application at the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to represent flight attendants at WestJet.

A majority of WestJet flight attendants have signed cards supporting unionization with CUPE, including WestJet’s mainline carrier and low-cost carrier Swoop, and the union is excited about what is to come next.

“We’re hopeful that this is just the first of many victories ahead for WestJet Cabin Crew, as we work together to improve working conditions for inflight staff,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “A strong union for WestJetters is set for takeoff!”

CUPE is Canada’s flight attendant union, representing 12,000 flight attendants at ten different airlines nationwide.

#FactsFriday: Grooming: Not paid. Not safe. With CUPE, we can do better.

hpouliot Uncategorized

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.

Unsafe 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 westjet@cupe.ca 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!

#FactsFriday: What happens after certification?

hpouliot Uncategorized

We have been hearing a lot from WestJetters over the past few weeks who are excited and want to know what will happen after certification.

Basically, there are two big steps we’ll take together. We’ll build the structure of our CUPE local union and we’ll bargain a legally enforceable collective agreement.

Setting up our local

After certification, with the support of CUPE National staff, WestJetters will:

  • Draft and approve local by-laws, the rules that govern your CUPE local
  • Elect Executive Officers who will run the local on a day to day basis
  • Elect Trustees, who will oversee the local’s finances
  • Establish and build your local’s committees for things like Bargaining, and Occupational Health and Safety
  • Set union dues
  • Establish and build a system of Shop Stewards, who are front line representatives for members in the workplace

Bargaining your first collective agreement

Once the bargaining committee is elected, the preparations for bargaining will begin:

  • The bargaining survey is prepared and distributed to every member to inform bargaining priorities
  • With the support of CUPE National staff, the Bargaining Committee drafts proposals that reflect what members have prioritized through the surveys
  • Negotiations begin with the employer
  • The Bargaining Committee communicates regularly with members about the state of negotiations
  • When a tentative agreement is reached at the bargaining table, it is brought back to all members for a ratification vote
  • Your current terms and conditions of employment are frozen until your first collective agreement is ratified

The collective agreement determines everything from your compensation to your working conditions, and outlines a grievance process if the agreement is violated. The collective agreement is the outcome of the union’s effort to improve the lives of the membership. From ideas to ratification, it is all about your input!

And unlike an agreement negotiated by WCCA, a collective agreement is legally binding and does not change at WestJet’s whim. Finally, something you can rely on!

If you haven’t already, sign your card to improve your rights at work today!

If Ryanair flight attendants can unionize, so can WestJetters

hpouliot Uncategorized

WestJetters are sending congratulations across the Atlantic Ocean following the news that UK-based flight attendants at Ryanair have achieved what was once thought impossible by unionizing. They will be represented by Unite, the UK’s flight attendant union.

If Ryanair flight attendants can do it, so can Cabin Crew at WestJet.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary once said hell would freeze over before his employees unionized. But the recent news at Ryanair has shown that with determination, flight attendants can overcome the most anti-union opposition in the industry, and get the union representation they need to protect their rights and advocate for safer working conditions.

Unite represents 25,000 flight attendants around the UK. With the nation’s leading flight attendant union at their side, Ryanair flight attendants will now be able to make important gains in their wages and working conditions.

As the airline’s frontline workers, flight attendants are responsible for a company’s success. They deserve respect and fairness at work, and a meaningful say over their working conditions. Getting union representation ensures that flight attendants at Ryanair have a strong voice in determining things like wages, benefits and scheduling.

Industry-leading representation for WestJetters by Canada’s flight attendant union, CUPE, is just around the corner. Sign your card today.

CUPE is standing up for WestJetters’ right to organize

hpouliot Uncategorized

CUPE is taking action at the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to protect the right of WestJetters to join a union free from threats, harassment and intimidation – as guaranteed by the Canada Labour Code.

In response to an unfortunate pattern of troublesome behaviour by management against WestJetters, CUPE has filed what is called an “unfair labour practice” (ULP) claim at the CIRB. The claim outlines:

  • How WestJet, with the assistance of the Calgary Airport Authority, has been interfering with union organizing activities at the Calgary airport
  • How WestJet, through a range of tactics including videotaping, has been intimidating employees who are involved with unionizing or simply seeking information about unionizing
  • How WestJet threatened the jobs and livelihoods of WestJet Cabin Crew if they choose to unionize
  • How WestJet forced employees to download anti-union literature onto their tablets under disciplinary threat

In CUPE’s view, all of these actions contravene the Canada Labour Code, and WestJet must stop illegally interfering with WestJetters’ right to talk about forming a union.

Management has been ramping up anti-union activities in recent weeks, because they know how close Cabin Crew are to joining their pilot colleagues in forming their own union.

WestJet management is upset at the possibility of losing absolute control over employees’ working conditions, but that doesn’t justify their repeated violations of employees’ legally-protected rights.

Strong, legal representation for WestJetters is just around the corner with CUPE. Sign a card and encourage a colleague to sign theirs too.

We’re ready for democratic collective bargaining

hpouliot Uncategorized

We’ve heard your concerns about the current re-negotiation of your Cabin Crew Agreement. The WCCA engaged in these discussions with management without input or a mandate from Cabin Crew themselves. It’s unclear exactly what provisions are being re-negotiated or what position the WCCA is advocating.

And the simple fact remains: no matter what WCCA negotiates with WestJet management, that agreement still has no legal force. Management can unilaterally change it any time they like.

Cabin Crew Members are being kept in the dark about when the negotiations are happening and when they can expect an update. When WestJetters press the WCCA for answers, they are being told “I can’t comment” or “standby”.

How would negotiations be different with CUPE representing you? Here’s a basic step-by-step:

  1. The membership is surveyed for input on bargaining priorities
  2. Bargaining proposals are drafted, parties exchange proposals and begin negotiations
  3. The bargaining committee sends frequent updates informing membership of progress
  4. A tentative collective agreement is agreed to
  5. The bargaining committee presents the tentative agreement to the membership
  6. The membership ratifies the agreement by secret ballot
  7. The collective agreement becomes legally binding for the duration of its term

Read this summary comparing the key legal differences between CUPE and non-union employee groups like the WCCA.

Given how close we are in this union drive, you will start to see more of these common employer tactics:

  • All of a sudden, management is communicating with employees much more frequently
  • All of a sudden, management is promising to solve problems that have been around for years
  • Management makes promises of a one-time increase in benefits, wages or improvements to other terms of employment
  • Management threatens that, if employees unionize, working conditions may be lost and employees would be worse off

Don’t get discouraged!

If widespread support for a union can pressure the company into giving you improvements, imagine what really having a union might do! WestJet Cabin Crew Members are joining CUPE for protected, long-term gains – not just one-off improvements. WestJetters are joining CUPE for a stronger voice at work, fair representation and a democratic collective bargaining process.

CUPE and WestJetters celebrate International Flight Attendants Day!

hpouliot Uncategorized

To celebrate International Flight Attendants Day, CUPE and WestJet activists were on-site at airports across Canada to celebrate the achievements of flight attendants and to look forward to a bright shared future.


Every year, on May 31, CUPE celebrates International Flight Attendants Day with our 12,000 flight attendants nationwide.

But this year was a bit different, and a bit more special, as the drive to bring WestJetters into the CUPE family gets closer and closer to the finish line.

Our drive is one year old this month, and there is so much to celebrate from the past year, and so much to celebrate about the weeks and months ahead. Together, we will make history for WestJet Cabin Crew, bring fairness and respect back into the workplace, and make bold advances for flight attendants across the industry.

CUPE is proud to be a leading advocate for health and safety, better wages, and better working conditions in the airline sector. Together with CUPE, WestJetters will achieve the fair contract and strong representation they deserve.

Celebrating International Flight Attendants Day!

hpouliot Uncategorized

On May 31, we celebrate flight attendants nationwide, including the 12,000 flight attendants across Canada who are members of our great union. CUPE is proud to be a leading advocate for health and safety, better wages, and better working conditions in the airline sector. Together with CUPE, WestJetters will achieve the fair contract and strong representation they deserve.

Download and share this graphic.

Having a union worked for WestJet pilots – now it’s flight attendants’ turn

hpouliot Uncategorized

Statement from the WestJet-CUPE Organizing Committee on the pilots’ agreement

We are thrilled to send heartfelt congratulations to the WestJet pilots who showed great determination in the face of a very real threat of a lockout, and secured their right to fly all WestJet planes, including Swoop.

Having a union worked for the pilots – their key demands for respect at work have been met. The pilots proved this week that organizing for our rights is the best way for all WestJetters (including Cabin Crew) to move forward.

But this agreement for pilots also highlights the fact that Cabin Crew remain vulnerable. ALPA is standing up for WestJet pilots. No one is standing up for WestJet flight attendants.

It is essential now that Cabin Crew don’t get left behind when Swoop launches next month. The best way to advance our working conditions and maintain our job security is to stand together and join CUPE, Canada’s flight attendant union.

We are very close to making this a reality.

Sign a card (or encourage a friend to sign theirs) today, and soon Cabin Crew can enjoy the strong, legal representation that WestJet pilots just proved can work so well for them.