By now, everyone is aware that we are well into bargaining our first collective agreement with WestJet and we are happy with our progress thus far. We are still months away from reaching our goal, but we are committed to the process and most of all committed to our teams at YYC and YVR in getting the best agreement possible. The YVR team will be travelling to YYC on Monday, to enter our 5th week of bargaining and we will be sure to update you with our progress next Friday.
As with all change, there is a transition period where both parties must get used to the new policies and procedures. Just as we, the Bargaining Committee are learning our new roles, so are our managers within a unionized environment. We ask that you provide them with respect and grace during this time. The same goes for your Bargaining Committee members. We would like to remind everyone that as we do not have a Collective Agreement in place yet, WestJet’s current policy and procedures are still in place, and we must follow these rules. As we go through the Bargaining process, there may be agreements developed for the workplace, such as the overtime agreement set out in August.
The IROP situation that occurred at YVR and YYC on Sunday and Monday is a good example of how this new agreement is to be applied. We want to be clear on the intent of this agreement and its impact on YVR and YYC Unifor Members. The Q&A sent out titled “Airport Overtime and Shift Extensions” in August 2021 states that overtime will be offered in order of seniority and employees can decline a shift extension if there are enough employees with less seniority below them to cover the requirement. The intent of this agreement between Unifor and the Company, is not to cover staffing shortages due to lack of planning on behalf of the company.
Declining overtime because you have a circumstance that prevents you from staying at work is valid and acceptable. Some examples for declining overtime would be if you have previous commitments, responsibilities such as the need to care for a child or a pet, personal reasons such as a need to take medication at a certain time or have a special diet you are following. If the company advises you that they are contemplating progressive discipline, you can still decline overtime. At that time, we advise you to contact one of your union representatives, so we are able to support you.
We would also like to remind our members of the importance of taking care of yourself during your shifts. Under the Canada Labour Code, you have a right to your break times. If you are unable to take your break due to operational needs, you must make note of it and communicate it as soon as possible. Break times can be paid as time worked if you do miss them.
Missing a break or working overtime must be properly compensated. We would like to encourage all Members to check over their Kronos and paychecks regularly to ensure payment is not being missed. It is very important to report these payroll anomalies as soon as you notice them to your Workforce team so they can be reconciled for you.
Lastly, we would like to make it very clear that if Unifor makes an agreement with the Company, outside of bargaining that pertains to our workplaces, you will receive official communication from us on Unifor letterhead. If you are ever in question of a Union / Company agreement, please reach out to your Bargaining Committee.
Have a great week everyone! Together, we fly. Your Bargaining Committee, Local 531
If you have friends that work at YYZ and YEG who have not yet signed a Unifor membership card, let them know that they can do this at join.unifor.org/federalcard
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