Greater than 500 WestJet workers in Vancouver and Calgary have unionized with Unifor, saying a change in office tradition after the airline’s sale was an enormous a part of the office group efforts.
The 531 WestJet employees — which embrace airport brokers resembling customer support employees — be part of greater than 7,000 different unionized airline employees with Unifor below carriers like Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz.
“You went from the notion of ‘we’re teammates, it is a household tradition,’ to being owned by Onex, which is a large, large firm,” stated Unifor president Jerry Dias, referencing WestJet’s proprietor, Onex Corp., which acquired the airline practically two years in the past.
“Onex operated totally different than the outdated WestJet for positive, one of many first issues that occurred was the unilateral outsourcing of so many roles in among the smaller bases.”
The union stated the office group efforts will assist be certain that senior workers are the primary to be known as again in an eventual reopening of the airline business.
Unifor Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan stated conversations with WestJet employees had been happening previous to the pandemic, and moved on-line after COVID-19 hit.
She stated unionization efforts are persevering with at WestJet’s bases in Toronto and Edmonton as effectively.
“We really feel very optimistic about the way forward for each of these locations,” stated Scanlan, who stated they’re engaged on getting extra membership playing cards signed.
“This win reveals WestJet employees throughout Canada that they can also achieve a voice within the office.”
The union stated office group has been a part of the profitable lobbying effort for monetary assist for the airline business from the federal authorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sherwin Antonio, a customer support agent with WestJet in Calgary, stated the unionization will assist shield employees through the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“This final yr has been extraordinarily troublesome for WestJet workers,” stated Antonio.
“Being a part of a union will primarily put in place guidelines and processes for a way a rising firm handles such troublesome instances, to make sure equity and respect for all within the office.”
The union filed their software to the Canada Industrial Relations Board final month, and the board licensed Unifor because the bargaining agent for the employees on Thursday.
Unifor is certainly one of Canada’s largest personal sector unions and represents greater than 300,000 employees throughout the nation. It represents greater than 16,000 employees throughout the aviation business.