Welcome On Board, SWOOP!

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CUPE’s flight attendant family of 15,000 is eager to welcome on board SWOOP FAs! Here’s what they have to say:

Air Canada (CUPE Local 4095)
I’m so excited for you to experience the opportunities, fairness, and growth that will come your way when you unionize with CUPE. Your voices will finally be heard and there is so much that can be achieved through collective agreement negotiations to improve your work/life balance!”
-Service Director, Tracy, 17 years Air Canada

Rouge (CUPE Local 4098)
“I flew with Rouge and was then able to utilize the newly negotiated language in our collective agreement to transfer to Air Canada with all my service and seniority intact. Flowing through enabled me to keep the job I wanted and advance my career while improving my working conditions but without having to start over somewhere else. All my seniority quickly put me in line for a promotion which didn’t exist at Rouge and which provided even better scheduling and pension contributions. I’m so happy to have had a clear and reliable flow-through process in our Collective Agreement. For me, flowing was the difference between “living to work” and “working to live.”
-Service Director, Kyle, 6 years Air Canada (previously Rouge)

Air Transat (CUPE Local 4047)
“As an active CUPE member, I’ve had many opportunities to improve my work life at Air Transat through Union education and by representing Flight Attendants at community and labour events. I’ve always valued the democracy of CUPE and that everyone has their say and vote.”
 -Flight Attendant, Tracy, 25 years Air Transat

Cathay Pacific (CUPE Local 4088)
“We look forward to welcoming Encore and SWOOP Flight Attendants to join CUPE’s Airline Division.  The support and training we received from CUPE is invaluable, particularly during negotiation of our first Collective Agreement and subsequent ones.”
-Inflight Services Manager, David, 21 years Cathay Pacific

Flair Air (CUPE Local 4060)
“Prior to unionizing, we each had to face the employer on our own. In difficult situations, that was daunting and in some cases impossible. Now that the FAs at Flair Air are unionized with CUPE, we stand up for each other and we have a CUPE Staff Representative helping us do that at each base. I’ve been through a unionizing campaign and encourage you to continue the important work you’re doing – it’s worth it!”
-Flight Attendants, Amy, 5 years Flair Air & Patti 2 years Flair Air

WestJet Mainline (CUPE Local 4070)
“I look forward to the day when CUPE represents all WestJet flight attendants.  Each  FA deserves career progression and the ability to flow from the props to the jets with certainty.”
-Flight Attendant, Cynthia, 14 years WestJet Mainline

In addition to the airlines above, CUPE represents flight attendants at Air Georgian, Calm Air, Canadian North, and First Air.  With CUPE’s extensive experience and knowledge of the airline industry you’re in good company and ready for take off.

Know your rights at work

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Can I talk about union activity with my co-workers?

Yes. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are your rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; therefore the right to speak about freedom of association is protected under the law.

The Canada Labour Code protects your rights:

Section 94 (1) of the Canada Labour Code prohibits employer interference in the formation of a union. It states: “No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall (a) participate in or interfere with the formation or administration of a trade union or the representation of employees by a trade union.”

Section 94 (3) of the Canada Labour Code states that “no employer shall (a) refuse to employ or to continue to employ or suspend, transfer, lay off or otherwise discriminate against any person with respect to employment, pay or any other term or condition of employment or intimidate, threaten or otherwise discipline any person, because the person (i) is or proposes to become, or seeks to induce any other person to become, a member, officer or representative of a trade union or participates in the promotion, formation or administration of a trade union.”

It’s important to know that the Canada Labour Code prohibits your employer from intimidating or threatening any employee who seeks to join or form a union. If your rights or those of a co-worker have been violated contact CUPE for more information about how to enforce your rights.

What is prohibited conduct by the employer regarding union activity? Management cannot:

  • Ask whether someone’s joined or is thinking of joining a union.
  • Ask about union meetings or activities.
  • Call someone into the office to talk about the union, unless that person asks for a meeting.
  • Discipline a union supporter for doing something employees who don’t support the union also do but get away with.
  • Visit employees in their homes to talk about the union.
  • Promise wage increases or other benefits if employees reject the join or say they might lose benefits if they’re for the union.
  • Tell you the organization will close down or lay people off or say that management will refuse to deal with a union if the employees choose to organize.
  • Help or even encourage employees who are organizing against a union.
  • Ban ordinary union buttons from the workplace if jewelry and buttons are normally allowed.

What is permitted conduct by the employer regarding union activity? Management can:

  • Tell employees what they think about a union so long as the employer doesn’t use threats or undue influence.
  • Make a pitch for the company or organization and say how good the working conditions are.
  • Increase benefits or start to hold monthly, weekly or daily meetings to solve problems.
  • Resolve problems that have irritated people for years only minutes after an organizing drive begins.

I signed a card to join CUPE. Now what?

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So you’ve signed your card to join CUPE. Congratulations! A better life at work is just around the corner. But in order to get there, this campaign needs your help. Here’s a checklist of ways you can ensure you and your colleagues get the fair contract and representation you deserve as soon as possible!

✔ Send in your $5 application fee by mail or online (we can’t authenticate your membership until you do)

✔ Encourage five of your colleagues to sign a CUPE card

✔ Get in touch with your regional organizer to find out how you can help

✔ Like and share our Facebook page!

✔ Keep up to date by signing up for our newsletter

If we stay active and stay committed, together, we can do this.

We agree that we need to certify, but is CUPE the right fit?

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CUPE’s goal is not to become your voice; it is to amplify your voice.

We are a large organization with 670,000 members, and our 2,400 locals range in size of from 20 members to 20,000. What we have in common, and what makes us strong, is our “members first” approach. It is our members who are calling the shots when it comes to setting bargaining priorities, electing leaders, and deciding the directions of the national union.

CUPE is the right fit for Swoop flight attendants because we have decades of experience of representing flight attendants, and because we actively encourage the autonomy of our local unions.

No one knows what is best for Swoop flight attendants better than flight attendants themselves – which is why CUPE is committed to empowering you to get the best deal possible at work.

CUPE was founded on the concept of local autonomy and gives its locals an unmatched degree of autonomy among labour organizations in Canada. As long as the local is following the CUPE constitution, it is free to pursue whatever actions that it sees fit to best represent its members.

What your union dues can do for you: a message from CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury

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With a lot of discussion about CUPE’s financial structure and how union dues are collected and used, many Swoop flight attendants may be asking how we put their hard‑earned dollars to work for them.

Union dues at CUPE start at 0.85% of your regular wages only – not on bonus, overtime, sick time, or extra hours – and after that it’s up to your local to determine what dues it will levy as required. On average, most locals choose 0.65% which brings the total to 1.5%, or $1.50, on every $100 of regular wages earned.

That’s less than the cost of a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s – and it brings you an impressive range of services, as well as better contracts and better representation in the long run.

So where, exactly, does the 0.85% of your national dues go every month?

At CUPE, through your National Servicing Representative, you’ll have access to a wide variety of specialists in our Legal, Communications, Research, Equality, Education, and Health and Safety branches. You’ll also have the support of CUPE’s $95 million defense fund if and when you and your colleagues need it.

These are industry-leading services.

But for about the same amount, CUPE can provide Swoop flight attendants with high-caliber resources and representation that can only be afforded by membership within a national union of 670,000 members.

And we will respect your local autonomy to the fullest extent too.

Your company is growing fast and we know you want to see it continue to succeed. We want to help you, as employees and drivers of this great Canadian success story, to get your fair share of this success too.

The best way to do that, and to get the respectful contract and representation you deserve, is to sign a card and become a member of CUPE today.

The CUPE advantage: compare and see how it will work for you!

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Pay for ground delays and layovers. Longer rest periods for longer flights. Clearly established rules to address pay cheque discrepancies. Higher starting hourly wages and higher pay for Cabin Crew Leaders. Footwear and dry-cleaning allowances. Better retirement security through employer-contribution pension plans.

When you compare other contracts negotiated by CUPE in the airline sector, the CUPE advantage is clear.

Read more here using our comparator chart to see how the CUPE advantage can benefit you.

Frequently Asked Questions

CUPE Uncategorized

Frequently asked questions from WestJet Cabin Crew about joining CUPE:

 

How many airline members does CUPE have across Canada?

CUPE is Canada’s largest union of flight attendants. We represent 11,500 flight attendants at WestJet mainline, Sunwing, Air Transat, Calm Air, Cathay Pacific, First Air, Canadian North, Air Canada, Air Georgian, and CanJet.

 

Why should I join a union?

Some of the minimum benefits you now receive from an employer result from the fights unions have won for their members over the last 100 years. The weekend, the right to pensions, vacations, minimum wage laws, human rights legislation and health and safety regulations are examples of the gains working people have won acting together in unions.

Today, unions like CUPE help members bargain for progress at work through higher wages, better job security, and better health and safety standards. Without a union, each employee must negotiate their own wages and working conditions with their employer; but by acting together, employees can have some real bargaining power, and the power to remedy situations where the employer has violated the terms and conditions of the collective agreement. In short, joining a union gives workers a better livelihood, and a stronger voice at work.

 

What is a collective agreement? How will CUPE help us achieve a strong collective agreement?

A collective agreement can contain any terms and conditions that are agreed upon by the union and the employer. Typically, collective agreements contain provisions for rates of pay, shift premiums, vacations, statutory holidays, seniority, job postings, job security, benefit plans, uniform allowances, sick leave, leaves of absence, access to personnel files, disciplinary procedures and the grievance procedure to enforce the rights contained in the collective agreement.

Local unions of CUPE are encouraged to determine what conditions of employment are important to them, so that they can be included in a collective agreement. In addition, local unions receive guidance from experienced representatives and access to information about working conditions in other similar workplaces. In addition, CUPE provides specialized expertise in research, health and safety, education, job evaluation and legal matters to assist local unions in achieving their goals.
A collective agreement does not take away an employer’s right to manage its business. The employer still makes management decisions with respect to how the organization will be run, but it must do so in accordance with the rights of employees as contained in the collective agreement.

 

How do CUPE’s airline contracts compare with contracts for non-CUPE airlines like Jazz and WestJet?

Pay for ground delays and layovers. Longer rest periods for longer flights. Clearly established rules to address pay cheque discrepancies. Higher starting hourly wages and higher pay for Cabin Crew Leaders. Footwear and dry-cleaning allowances. Better retirement security through employer-contribution pension plans. When you compare other contracts negotiated by CUPE in the airline sector, the CUPE advantage is clear. Read more here using our comparator chart to see how the CUPE advantage can benefit you.

 

We agree that we need to certify, but is CUPE the right fit?

CUPE’s goal is not to become your voice; it is to amplify your voice. We are a large organization with 650,000 members, and our 2,400 locals range in size of from 20 members to 20,000. What we have in common, and what makes us strong, is our “members first” approach. It is our members who are calling the shots when it comes to setting bargaining priorities, electing leaders, and deciding the directions of the national union. CUPE is the right fit for Swoop flight attendants because we have decades of experience of representing flight attendants, and because we actively encourage the autonomy of our local unions.
No one knows what is best for Swoop flight attendants better than flight attendants themselves – which is why CUPE is committed to empowering you to get the best deal possible at work.

 

Will CUPE impose things we don’t want?

CUPE was founded on the concept of local autonomy and gives its locals an unmatched degree of autonomy among labour organizations in Canada. As long as the local is following the CUPE constitution, it is free to pursue whatever actions that it sees fit to best represent its members.

 

What is the difference between an Association and a Union?

In terms of the law, the Canada Industrial Relations Board would consider both an Association and Union if they met the definition of “trade union” within the meaning of Section 3 of the Canada Labour Code. The Code defines a trade union as any organization of employees, the purposes of which include the regulation of relations between employers and employees. That being said, adequate representation requires sufficient experience, expertise, and resources.

As a union, CUPE is a member of the Canada Labour Congress and has over 650,000 members in various sectors of the economy, including 11,500 members in the airline sector. In this case, the difference between CUPE and an association is a question of who has the resources, experience, and expertise to best represent WestJet Cabin Crew Members. With unparalleled legal, education, research, and communications resources, longstanding expertise on issues affecting flight attendants, and a $97 million defense fund to support members, CUPE is the standout best option for WestJet CCMs.

Will CUPE impose terms from other airline collective agreements on us? 

No, absolutely not. CUPE cannot and will not impose any terms from other Collective Agreements (CAs), including seniority or any other provision in any other CUPE CA, on any WestJet CA. Members of the local decide democratically what is in (and what is not in) their CA.

 

How does my workplace become unionized?

The Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) sets out the process for unionization. Workers contact a union and meet with a union organizer. Workers sign cards applying for membership in the union, and authorizing the union to represent them in negotiations with their employer. Federal law requires CUPE to collect $5 from each worker when they sign a card. If at least 35 per cent of the workers sign membership cards, the CIRB will hold a vote, using a secret ballot, and anyone who is in the bargaining unit the union applied to represent can vote. If the majority of workers who cast ballots vote to unionize, then the union is certified.

If more than 50 per cent sign membership cards, the CIRB can certify the union without holding a vote; however, in some cases, the CIRB will hold a vote even when more than 50 per cent of the workers signed cards. Once the union is certified, the union will serve notice to the employer to begin negotiating your first contract. The local certification process is confidential. Employers are not entitled to know who signed cards, and all votes are held by secret ballot.

 

Is there an application fee when signing a union membership card?

Section 31(b) of the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, SOR/2001-520 requires that each applicant for membership in a trade union “has paid at least five dollars to the trade union for or within the six-month period immediately before the date on which the application was filed.”

 

Can an employer fire an employee, cut their hours of work, or discipline them because they decided to join a union?

Absolutely not. The Canada Labour Code protects every employees’ right to join a trade union of their choice and to participate in its lawful activities. If the employer attempts to coerce, intimidate, threaten, use promises, or undue influence to persuade you from joining a union or the union of your choice, that would be an unfair labour practice. CUPE would file an unfair labour practice complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board and seek full redress if the employer or anyone acting on behalf of the employer violated your right to organize. 
You should contact CUPE immediately if you think the employer has done or is about to do anything that would be a violation of your right to join the trade union of your choice.

 

Is my privacy protected?

A Labour Board Officer oversees the vote and this officer ensures that there is no interference by the employer or the union. The voting process is confidential.  No one will ever know how you voted and at no time during the process will your employer know whether or not you have signed a union membership card.  The secrecy of the vote and card signer information is protected by law.

 

What are union dues?

Union dues are collected in order to help local unions pay their expenses, and to provide local unions with national support and services like staff representatives; education, research, and communications specialists; Worker’s Compensation, health and safety, and pay equity specialists; and legal representatives. We believe that a percentage solution is the most fair and equitable and part-time employees would only pay the percentage of hours actually worked. CUPE National dues are 0.85 per cent. Your union dues are tax deductible, and CUPE has no additional application fees. On average, most local unions have a total dues levy of 1.5 per cent – that’s about the cost of a cup of coffee a day to help secure better wages and working conditions for you and all your colleagues.

 

What happens after we become unionized?

You will elect members from your own group to represent you on a bargaining committee. The bargaining committee will be comprised of your members, local representation and a CUPE representative. The bargaining committee will negotiate a first collective agreement for your bargaining unit and this collective agreement will be brought back to your bargaining unit to be ratified. Only your bargaining unit will vote on your collective agreement.

 

How will our union operate? Who will control our union?

In CUPE, the members are in charge. Local unions in CUPE have democratic control over their activities. Members of the local union decide, at regular local meetings, on issues that are important to the local and the membership.  The local union itself is run by elected members of the local union. Each CUPE local decides its priorities for bargaining, when to settle a new contract, and how to manage funds. CUPE’s strength comes from individual members working toward common goals, like improving wages and benefits, improving health and safety conditions, and making your workplace better.

 

What role will CUPE staff play in our union?

CUPE representatives have a voice but no vote during local membership meetings. All CUPE representatives have a strong knowledge, experience and commitment to advocating to improve the lives of working people. They are skilled professionals with the communications and organizing skills to advocate on your behalf within the union, and with government and other organizations.

 

We are located across Canada. Will CUPE offer staff representatives to all of our offices?

There will be local representatives accessible in every base for all local matters including local grievances, arbitrations, workers’ compensations files, membership meetings, discipline meetings and any other matter that requires assistance. There will also be a representative assigned at the national level for matters such as bargaining policy grievances and arbitrations and labour management. As well, your elected Officers will benefit from CUPE training. Additionally, CUPE has specialist representatives in the fields of health and safety and research that can support the work of the local executive in conjunction with their staff representatives.

 

Will we be entitled to pay equity?

When a group becomes unionized the law requires that the pay equity plan be revisited. The employer is required to establish a joint union and management pay equity committee; the union selects the union members and the employer selects its own members. CUPE will provide the local a pay equity specialist to work with the union committee to ensure all employees are treated in a fair and equitable manner.

 

Will changing representation cause us to lose our current agreement, including things like our profit-sharing and ESPP?

The statutory freeze applies to all your working conditions, including company policy and benefits such as profit-sharing and ESPP. Our legal and financial researchers will ensure that you have the access to the company financial information required to ensure that you are justly rewarded for your hard work.

 

Won’t joining a union hurt our company’s bottom line, and affect our shares?

Absolutely not! In fact, through positive labour management relations, unions can help companies prosper, because a happy and healthy workforce is essential for the success of the company. Furthermore, CUPE cares about growth and job protection in the companies where our members work. Our job as a union is to make sure the people who make the company profitable – the everyday workers like you – are being compensated and treated fairly, so that the company can continue to succeed and grow.

 

Don’t unions just protect lazy people?

Unions have a duty to protect all employees in a bargaining unit. All union members have the right to be protected against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment.

Aviation safety: One step closer to a safe ratio of 1 flight attendant for every 40 passengers

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CUPE welcomes the recent recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities that the federal government review the current flight attendant ratio of 1 flight attendant for every 50 passengers. CUPE expects the government to move quickly on this issue.

The committee’s report is a follow-up to hearings held from April to June 2017 on the safety of Canada’s civil aviation system. CUPE is pleased to note that committee members echoed our recommendations, which were presented at the hearing on April 6.

During the federal election, the Liberal Party criticized the Conservative government’s decisions on aviation safety. The Liberals committed to “make informed decisions based on evidence and data,” and promised to keep “the safety of all Canadians as a top priority.” CUPE expects the government to respond positively to the report and support its adoption in the House, so that  the ratio can quickly be revised, restoring a proper level of air safety for passengers and crew.

“We are confident the Liberal government will make the safety of all Canadians a priority by quickly starting the process of revising the ratio, and delivering on its promise to hold appropriate consultations with stakeholders and experts,” said Mark Brancelj, President of CUPE’s AirlineDivision.

CUPE represents more than 10,000 flight attendants employed by nine airlines. CUPE explained to parliamentarians that the change in the ratio of flight attendants to passengers exposes air carriers and passengers to much greater risk, all to cut costs.

At the hearings, Jordan Bray-Stone, chair of the Health and Safety Committee of CUPE’s Airline Division, said that when emergency exits are left unattended because there aren’t enough flight attendants, passengers have to assume the responsibility. These passengers are not mentally prepared, and they lack the training to deal with an emergency exit. This constitutes an unnecessary and unacceptable risk for passengers and crew members.

CUPE would like to acknowledge the work of the New Democratic Party, which, in a companion report, took a strong stand in favour of re-establishing the 1:40 ratio for flight attendants. The NDP rightly concluded that the current ratio “is clearly insufficient to ensure passengers’ complete safety in the event of turbulence, cabin decompression, an on-board fire or an emergency evacuation.”

“Given the existing studies, we hope that the government will reinstate the one in 40 ratio as soon as possible. It’s a ratio that’s been demonstrated to be safe,” said Brancelj.