Dear Members

After completing 14 weeks of bargaining, we are making improvements to your work life balance. As we begin to negotiate articles that will greatly affect that balance, we are writing this update to our Members with great frustration. While there are many positive changes on the way, the Company’s unwillingness to change the status quo is slowing us down. They are holding on to their idyllic belief that WestJet has a unique culture, and there’s no need to make improvements in their Employees work lives. To quote the company “There is a unique culture at WestJet. We are attempting to capture the status quo”. This is not why we unionized. We need change, we want change, WE DEMAND CHANGE. The status quo is just not good enough anymore.

At this point, we need to tell our members that the tone and atmosphere around the bargaining table has been frustrating and not productive. The Company has been difficult to work with, insulting to the work we perform and appear to be completely comfortable in the current staffing levels and the pressure it puts on our Members. They cavalierly suggest that unpaid breaks are normal and should be embraced. Paid breaks are a priority for our Membership and we will continue to fight for this.

To date, we have proposed and counter-proposed the Scheduling article 10 times and it is infuriating to see how much our Bargaining Committee has agreed to, yet the Company refuses to agree with the language we propose. We are getting bored of the company regurgitating their language on every pass and we have sat through multiple discussions where the Company has told us that our Members like the way things are. It has become abundantly clear that the Company believes the Employees priority should be to WestJet and WestJet only. Family obligations and a life outside of work do not appear important to the company. The Company wishes to have total control of an Employees life, including calling them at the last minute to work on a day off no matter what plans they have already made, proposing short scheduling periods, and having casual employees work as much or more as their part time counterparts. As long as the company can do what they want to a Members schedule, they are okay with it, no matter the impact it has on one’s life. We WILL NOT let that happen.

There are several significant clauses we remain far apart from agreeing on. It has been very frustrating to have to continually explain to the Company that we are not willing to settle for an agreement that would be a detriment to our members. We have gone into great detail in explaining why our Members work life balance and mental health is important and it should not be an unreasonable expectation that we should have schedules that provide that outcome. The sentiment that WestJet used to be so proud of “take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business” is no longer and they have made it abundantly clear to us. The Company insists on flexibility and consistency for their scheduling practices but when we insist on the same for our Members, they ignore our requests. The Bargaining Committee is prepared and willing to be a partner with the Company in running a powerful and successful airline but that does not include agreeing to a scheduling strategy that is abusive of our Membership.

At one point during bargaining this week, the Company Labour Relations representatives compared the extremely stressful, challenging, technical and complex jobs we perform to entry level retail jobs and we should be scheduled as such. It has become increasingly clear that the Company does not value the work that we are doing, and they don’t recognize the complexity of our jobs. We unionized because we believe that there is a better future for us at WestJet. It’s insulting to our highly skilled Members to be compared to entry level jobs that require little training or experience.

These roadblocks the company has tried to put in our way only make us stronger in our resolve to negotiate a collective agreement that enhances the memberships quality of life. We are seeking a resolution and will continue to fight.

Lastly, we have created a Bargaining Committee email to provide you with more opportunity to connect with us. In the coming weeks, we will be setting up our Local 531 website as well as Social Media pages. In the meantime, if you have questions, concerns, ideas or want clarity to the gossip you hear on the floor, please email us at [email protected]

 

Upcoming Bargaining updates:

April 11-14 (YYC)
April 25 – 26 (cancelled due to Company double booking)
May 16-18 (YYZ)
May 30 – June 2 (YVR)
June 13-16 (YYZ)
June 27-29 (TBA)
July 25-28 (TBA)
August 8-11 (YVR)

Together, We Fly

Local 531 Bargaining Committee

As always, if you need support in the workplace or have any questions for us, here's how you can reach us:

YVR

Karen Berry
705.828.7795
[email protected]

Mark Enns
778.552.2344
[email protected]

Breanne Laihow
778.887.6156
[email protected]

YYC

Sherwin Antonio
403.660.7154
[email protected]om

Sandeep Samrai
403.608.9392
[email protected]

Jamie Mote
403.606.0464
[email protected]

Lindsay Landry
403.850.4748
[email protected]