Onex WestJet must play fair during Unifor’s union drive

Onex WestJet management is fully aware of your rights and its obligations. Despite this, Unifor has had to speak to WestJet managers today. It has come to our attention that managers attempted to restrict your right to be informed about the union.

We have had several reported incidents at YYC this week from our inside organizers, who have been pulled aside and made aware that management was aware that they were talking union at work. While poised as seemingly friendly, these meetings are meant to intimidate workers while they fulfil their legal rights to join the union. Workers are further reminded if they continue to speak union, they would be required to have a follow-up conversation with management.

Onex WestJet and the AEA are trying to intimidate you.

Unifor has sent a notice reminding WestJet management to stop intimidating workers who are within their rights to join the union. Onex WestJet has been reminded that the targeting or threatening of any employee who is active in a union organizing drive violates their rights.

We have asked the WestJet Director of YYC Calgary International Airport, Doris Carreiro Fonseca, to instruct WestJet managerial staff of the company's obligation to respect employees' freedom to organize and their rights and protections under the Canadian Labour Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

There has been an increase in WestJet management monitoring the movement of workers during extended periods. The Airports Employee Association (AEA), acting as the employer's agents, continues to have full access, trying to dissuade workers from joining the union.

As more and more WestJet airports workers sign Unifor cards expressing their desire to enjoy the union advantage, we can expect the company to step up its efforts to convince you to remain non-union.

A healthy debate about joining Unifor is essential and welcomed. However, just as workers must abide by specific rules during an organizing drive – such as not discussing the union on company time or impeding the workplace's business – the employer must abide by particular rules as well.

Every worker has the right to join a union of their choosing, free of undue influence, threats or coercion from the employer – and that includes WestJet workers.

Under the Canada Labour Code, you have the right:

  • To discuss joining Unifor on your own time. This includes breaks and lunchtime, including in the Owner's Lounge, as well as before and after your shift.
  • To discuss joining Unifor in your uniform
  • To sign Unifor membership cards on your own time, including in the Owner's Lounge
  • To read Unifor materials on your own time, including in the Owner's Lounge
  • To express your own opinions about unionization on your own time, including in the Owner's Lounge

Please note that you do not have the right to impede the business's functioning, which is why you must discuss joining Unifor and sign cards on your own time. This restriction does not apply to the Owner's Lounge.

Notify the union immediately if the employer violates your rights during this organizing driver. The union can file an "Unfair Labour Practice Complaint" with the Labour Board, which in turn has the authority to order any remedy that it feels is appropriate and that addresses any violation of the Canada Labour Code under Sections 94, 96, 97 & 99 of the code.

If you have concerns about anything the company says or does, or want more information, please contact your organizing team:

Please take action to protect your future; talk to your coworkers about signing a Unifor Membership card. It is time to take your seat at the table; they can do this at join.unifor.org/federalcard

 

Billy O'Neill, Unifor
[email protected] | 416-605-1443

Quebec
Ada Zampini, Unifor
[email protected] | 514-701-6227

Prairies
Bruce Fafard, Unifor
[email protected] | 587-341-0945

British Columbia
Simon Lau, Unifor
[email protected] | 778-928-9630

Atlantic
Patrick Murray, Unifor
[email protected] | 506-850-7996