Canada's Unions deliver priorities for federal relief package for airlines

Unions supporting Canada´s airlines has reported they met with Canada´s Minister of Finance and Minister of Transportation to share the concerns of aviation industry workers and to provide solutions to ensuring the sector´s viability, the company said.

Chief among their priorities is to ensure that any federal financial aid package responds to the needs of workers still on the job as well as the thousands of airline employees recently laid off.

Representing 40,000 employees, Canada´s airline unions participating in the meeting included the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Canada, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) as well as the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

Union leaders urged the federal government to consider measures similar to those in US Congress where affected airline and airport workers are to be provided top up benefits similar to those in US Congress where 80% of wages are guaranteed. The Unions also proposed that employers extend health benefit plans and ensure pensionable service is accrued under retirement plans. Moreover, they also wanted to ensure that any federal aid allows laid-off employees to return to payroll and maintains employment levels.

Unions also asserted that any government support be accompanied by tight restrictions on executive compensation. This includes bonuses and stock options, share buybacks and dividend payments, as well as debt repayment designed to increase shareholder value.