A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written legal contract between an employer and a union representing the employees. It dictates the rules and conditions of employment between workers and the employer. A CBA covers scheduling, overtime, wage scales, grievance procedures and language that speaks to work ownership and clauses that ban contracting out. These are just a few examples of how a CBA can improve your working conditions and reduce favouritism and unfairness in the workplace.

Negotiating a collective agreement can take many months, especially for a first agreement. WestJet management and Unifor local 531 members in Calgary and Vancouver have been working hard to set up a process that both managers and employees will follow. Language in a CBA is crucial to ensure the overall success and build better improvements into future agreements. Unifor has assigned our Airlines National Director, Leslie Dias and National Staff Rep, Frances Galambosy, to assist the seven elected bargaining committee representatives from WestJet Calgary and Vancouver. The decades of bargaining experience from the Unifor reps and the excitement and commitment from the newly unionized workers at WestJet to make long-lasting change has proven to be a recipe for success.

The elected Bargaining Committee is a diverse group of individuals who have tons of experience and service at WestJet, including representation from full-time, part-time and casual workgroups. They have differing responsibilities from GSL, GSL-B, CSA and even a former AEA rep. Their commitment is about protecting the things at WestJet that make it the place you love to work. As frontline workers, you hold a crucial role in ensuring a positive guest experience, but the system must also ensure you are valued.

When joining Unifor, workers have the opportunity to participate by putting forward bargaining proposals and ideas on how best to improve your base and your job. The collective approach to working together to negotiate a legally enforceable agreement for Unifor members and WestJet has been rewarding.

Management is worried in Edmonton.

In the past few months, we have experienced an increased interest from WestJetters in Toronto and Edmonton to join Unifor.

Sadly, this increase in card signing has provoked General Manager Daryll Walsh from WestJet Edmonton to release a threatening document to confuse workers about the union advantage. Unifor has, on numerous occasions over the past few years, sent an official notice to Mr. Walsh reminding him of workers' rights to join the union and the risks to management for interfering in such organizing activities. Walsh is up to his old games as workers in Edmonton start to see the real value in joining the union and gaining a seat at the table with Calgary and Vancouver.

Management knows if workers in Edmonton and Toronto stay with the Airports Employee Association (AEA), there is no real power in the organization to change management's decisions or enforce any rules. The AEA does not have any legally enforceable agreement with Onex WestJet. They were powerless when WestJet outsourced thousands of your coworkers across the country at tier 2 and 3 bases or the many friends of yours who lost their jobs as Guest Service Ambassadors.

Don't be fooled by managers like Daryll or WestJet executives with different priorities than those who built the company.

Unifor represents almost 700 WestJet employees in Calgary and Vancouver with active organizing campaigns with other WestJetters seeking strong representation as members of Unifor.

If you haven’t talked to your coworkers at YYZ, YEG or the Contact Centre, let them know they can sign a Unifor Membership card today. It is time for them to join you at the bargaining table; they can do this at join.unifor.org/WestJet

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