WestJet frontline workers deserve a real union

When Unifor meets with an employer, we don’t just take notes. That’s because Unifor is a real union, and exactly what WestJet frontline workers deserve - just like flight attendants, pilots and dispatchers, who have all joined unions and are in the process of negotiating their first collective agreements.

The Airline Employee Association (AEA) will try to tell you that you do not need a real union. The truth is that the AEA has no real strength or voice in the workplace, and cannot hold the employer to account if it does not act fairly or tries to change your working conditions arbitrarily. Only a union can do that.

While AEA is a creation of the employer, with a membership limited only to workers at WestJet and led by people who are beholden to management, a Unifor bargaining unit is led by democratically elected rank and file members and backed up by the largest private sector union in Canada.

It is disturbing that AEA has chosen to spread mistruths about Unifor and your own rights during the current organizing drive. For example:

  • AEA lies when it says that no organizing work can take place on company property. In fact, the Canadian Labour Code (CLC) is very clear on this. Organizing can take place on company property, but only on your own time such as during break and lunch, or before or after your shift. Unifor has reminded the company of this several times.
  • AEA lies that once a bargaining unit is certified and contract talks begin, we start from scratch and “everything is on the table.” In fact, the opposite is true. It’s called the freeze provision under the CLC. The company cannot change your working conditions during an organizing drive, and contract talks start from where you are now and build from there.
  • AEA lies that you will pay high union dues. In fact, your dues are set by a vote of the membership, and cannot be change without a majority vote of the membership.
  • AEA is lying when it says that your compensation and work-life flexibility provisions are “the same, if not better” than those at unionized workplaces. In fact, Unifor airline members have the best working conditions in the country. Several of our Air Canada members are assisting in the organizing drive. Ask them.
  • AEA lies that a union only has a seat at the table when it comes time to bargain a contract. In fact, Unifor is in the workplace every day representing the members’ interests. From shop stewards, to health and safety representatives, to union/management committee members to elected bargaining unit leadership, Unifor is present in the workplace every day. As well, while a real union such as Unifor has legal standing in the workplace, AEA does not.

Don’t get stuck in a company union while workers in the rest of the company are gaining a real voice in the workplace. Stay informed, and sign a Unifor card so you can have a voice, too.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact one of us.

Billy O'Neill, Unifor
[email protected] | 416-605-1443
Bruce Fafard, Unifor
[email protected] | 780-930-3086
Murray Gore, Unifor
[email protected] | 604-671-9141 
Patrick Murray, Unifor
[email protected] | 506-850-7996



Unifor is a Canadian union with a modern, inclusive approach to serving members and improving our workplaces and communities. // Unifor est un syndicat canadien qui a une approche moderne et inclusive pour servir ses membres et améliorer nos lieux de trav