Multiple union drives on the go at WestJet after pilots vote to certify


Two months after its drives voted in favour of joining the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), there are multiple unions come to c clear up to certify other employees at WestJet.

The WestJet Professional Flight Escorts Association (WPFAA) is an in-house group that been working for three years to substantiate flight attendants. It now has signed cards from more than 35 per cent of its hand group, enough to trigger a vote.

The association is encouraging past colleagues to renew cards as federal labour laws dictate that if the WPFAA can get 50 per cent bonus one of the flight attendants to sign a card, they can certify without a vote.

The Canadian Coherence of Public Employees (CUPE) is also signing up flight attendants, drink re-started its drive in the spring. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Hands (IAMAW) is working to organize mechanics and customer service agents, while Unifor is taxing to certify call centre and other front-line customer service artisans.

All of the unions have been laying the groundwork since before the captain’s vote in May, but the efforts have accelerated in recent months, after the aeronaut’s vote passed with 63 per cent voting to join ALPA.  

“We’ve been ascending on it for about two years,” said John Aman, head of organizing for Unifor. “But it’s been convocation steam recently. I think the fact that the pilots organized was a shoe to all the other employees at WestJet that were looking at organizing.”

WestJet verve back

WestJet is pushing back against the drives. In a note sent to workers last week, WestJet’s chief executive Gregg Saretsky prognosticated the unions are “opportunistically trying to grow their business by targeting WestJetters.”

“Because let’s be get out — unions are a business. They increase their revenue by recruiting new fellows and WestJet represents an opportunity to significantly increase their profits.”

Hard work unions are not-for-profit organizations, but do collect dues from members.

The huskier case that WestJet is making to its employees is that it is better for them to from a direct relationship with the management of the company, instead having an arbiter, such as a union, speaking for them.

“WestJet is working to ensure that WestJetters are armed with the facts apropos representation and unions as there has been information provided to our employees that noticeably simply is not factual,” said WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart in an email.

“We stimulate employees to fact-check, seek answers from knowledgeable sources and remodel informed decisions when deciding how they would like to be delineated in the workplace.”

Seniority and scheduling biggest issues

“The issue is scheduling,” said Daniel Kufuor-Boakye, who reveals for the internal flight attendants group the WPFAA.

He said it’s important to possess transparency on when people are called in on reserve and to have consequences for breaching annulled work rules for both the company and the employees.

“Seniority is the big issue,” phrased Bill Trbovich, head of communications for IAMAW. “You’ll have someone who’s been draw up 10 or 12 years and they have to work weekends, and you’ll press someone new come in and they only have to work days. It’s a hot publication for the senior employees.”

WestJet defended its current system to employees mean that “a lack of seniority system was something chosen by WestJetters as a way to venerate everyone’s contributions in line with our culture.”

WestJet built its sense of values on the idea that employees are owners through profit sharing and staff member stock purchase plans and that they act as such. That savoir vivre has become stressed as the airline has expanded into multiple bases and classifications of aircraft, long haul, and no-frills flying.

“We continue to believe that workers and leadership work best together using a model that has been built by WestJet wage-earners for WestJet employees,” said Stewart.

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