Raitt applauds decision to send Air Canada dispute to arbitration

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has applauded a resolution to the labour battle between Air Canada and its flight attendants that avoids a strike and settles the dispute through arbitration.

MONTREAL — Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has applauded a resolution to the labour battle between Air Canada and its flight attendants that avoids a strike and settles the dispute through arbitration.

The two sides have agreed that an arbitrator will issue a binding agreement in about two weeks under federal labour laws that prevent a strike.

“This resolution will bring labour stability to the airline while addressing the workplace issues raised by the CUPE negotiating team,” she said in a news release Friday, hours after the deal was announced.

Despite the difficult circumstances, both parties were able to resolve their differences without any disruption to the public, the minister added.

“This negotiated settlement is unquestionably in the best interest of employees, the travelling public and the Canadian economy.”

Wages, working conditions and pension changes are issues, along with Air Canada’s (TSX:AC.B) plans to launch a discount carrier.

The 6,800 Air Canada flight attendants rejected two tentative agreements that the union negotiated this year. They had threatened to strike last month and complained loudly that the airline has forced them to swallow too many concessions over the years.

The flight attendants were forced to withdraw the strike threat when the federal government referred the bitter dispute to the national labour board.

Unlike the case with customer service agents, the arbitrator will have the latitude to craft a decision without being restricted to a choice of either proposal presented by each side.

The CAW arbitrator sided with the union’s proposal for a hybrid pension plan. New employees will have defined contribution plans, while existing workers will remain in defined benefit plans.

Union sources say its proposal will reflect the concerns of members that led them to twice reject tentative deals the union had proposed they ratify.

The latest agreement to send the conflict to arbitration was reached after the parties met Thursday with the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which was considering two referrals from the minister.

Both referrals, including the one involving whether Air Canada should be considered an essential service are expected to be declared moot by the chairwoman of the CIRB.

Hearings are to begin Oct. 28 and a binding arbitration award is to be made by Nov. 7. The labour board will appoint an arbitrator if the two sides can’t agree on one. Both parties also agreed to withdraw unfair labour practice complaints filed by Air Canada on Oct. 12 and by CUPE on Sept 19.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A FedEx worker loads the 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine which came from Europe into a freezer trailer to be transported during the COVID-19 pandemic at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada’s incoming vaccine supply from Moderna will… Continue reading

Energy Minister Sonya Savage speaks during an event to mark the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in Acheson, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. A committee that is supposed to consult Albertans on coal development in the Rocky Mountains won't be able to ask questions about water or land use. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Brittany Lausen, RDC Students’ Association president. (Advocate file photo).
RDC Students’ Association takes aim at ‘period poverty’ in Red Deer

Vulnerable clients of several non-profits can access free hygiene products

A voter is shown at a Whitehorse polling station during the Yukon election on Monday April 12, 2021. An official count has confirmed a tie in the Yukon election, pushing the process to the next step of a judicial recount. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Kelly
Official count confirms tie in Yukon election, application filed for judicial recount

WHITEHORSE — An official count has confirmed a tie in the Yukon… Continue reading

Lieutenant Commander Nicole Robichaud welcomes members of the Liberian Coast Guard aboard the HMCS Moncton for training with Royal Canadian Navy off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, Africa. (Contributed photo by Corp. Ryan Moulton)
Red Deer-raised woman finds her sea legs as commander in the Royal Canadian Navy

Cdr. Nicole Robichaud started out as a local sea cadet

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Britain’s Prince Charles, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visits the gardens of Marlborough House, London, Thursday April 15, 2021, to look at the flowers and messages left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace, following the death of Prince Philip. (Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via AP)
Princes William, Harry won’t walk side-by-side at funeral

LONDON — Prince William and Prince Harry won’t walk side-by-side Saturday as… Continue reading

Tilray products such as capsules, oils, and dried marijuana are displayed at their head office in Nanaimo, B.C., on November 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Vote by Tilray shareholders on Aphria merger deal delayed until April 30

NANAIMO, B.C. — A vote by Tilray Inc. shareholders on the cannabis… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adjusts his mask as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson answers a reporter's question during an announcement on the government's updated climate change plan in the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Wilkinson urges opposition leaders to stop stalling net-zero carbon emissions bill

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is urging opposition leaders to end… Continue reading

Gwynne Dyer
Opinion: Biden’s words have no meaning

“If they go, we’ll all have to go. That’s the reality of… Continue reading

Shadow pandemic: Domestic violence has risen worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a devastating mark on communities across the… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs expected to toe the party line

I am writing this letter to express my disappointment with my MLA… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green, top centre, prepares to begin practice during the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, on Friday, January 8, 2021. Media have been barred from the Vancouver Canucks first practice since a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks’ next game postponed, delaying return from COVID-19 outbreak

Vancouver Canucks’ next game postponed, delaying return from COVID-19 outbreak

Most Read