Bargaining Update #7

Dear Members,

Last week your Bargaining Committee continued collective negotiations in Vancouver from Monday through Thursday.

The week got off to an unexpected start early Monday morning. Jeff Martin contacted our Local 4070 President to advise the Union that he had made two significant organizational changes. He advised Chris that VP Guest Experience, Louis Saint Cyr and VP Crew Resources, Scott Groh were no longer with the Company, effective immediately.

Greg Orth, Director lnflight, now the senior leader of the department, reached out to Chris Rauenbusch, President CUPE Local 4070, to state his intentions of forging a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship. This expression of positive relations was reciprocated by Union leadership. Greg and Chris plan to meet soon to discuss the next steps towards a renewed relationship.

Due to these circumstances, bargaining began slightly behind schedule on Monday mid-morning. With the absence of Louis and Scott at the table, Jason Begley, Director of Labour Relations, has assumed the role of senior negotiations lead for the Employer. Two articles were presented by the Union for potential agreement prior to commencing the Scheduling Articles:

  • Travel Privileges & Jumpseat Access

  • Commuting (re-tabled after a previous logistical delay)

By Monday afternoon, with overall positive back-and-forth counter proposals, we reached and signed off on the following Articles as a Tentative Agreement:

  • Travel Privileges & Jumpseat Access

We achieved one item in particular that was a priority for us, and which will positively impact our Commuters.

Tuesday morning saw the re-tabling of the Commuting Article. This Article was previously ‘paused’ as various experts were scheduled to come in for the last round of bargaining to address Health & Safety. Throughout Tuesday, both sides presented offers and counteroffers; exploring the needs of both the Union and the Employer. Some inroads were made, yet by the end of day, the Employer was unwilling to move on one specific part of the Article that the Union views as the basis upon which the rest of the Article hinges. This divergence on this clause caused us to reach an impasse on the Commuting Article. The Union will not agree to an Article with a clause that could potentially negate the validity of the entire Article at the behest of the Employer at any time during the term of the Collective Agreement. We stand firmly behind our Commuters and will continue to do so. This Article is now ‘parked’ until later in Collective Bargaining as there was no movement possible at this time.

Wednesday morning saw the first Scheduling Articles brought to the table. Both sides shared proposals for the Reserve Article. We started off relatively aligned in the concept, however, there were many terms we could not agree to. The Committee spent the rest of the day in caucus, away from the Employer, determining an appropriate counter-proposal - this continued into Thursday morning. The Reserve topic is extremely complex in terms of what is being negotiated regarding the reserve system moving forward in the Collective Agreement, and the Committee debated internally on many issues. The full impact of any counter-proposal needed to be weighed and examined before an offer back to the Employer could be made. There are significant changes from the status quo being tabled by both sides, and proper diligence is required on every facet of what is being agreed to.

At 10:15PT on Thursday morning, the Union’s counter-proposal was presented to the Employer. The other side was engaged and took our presentation seriously, asking for clarification on several clauses. They took our ideas away to make some changes, and these were tabled to the Union by 14:40PT. There was progress made on the Employer’s counter to us, however, after caucus by the Bargaining Committee, there remained areas that we need to see more movement on to ensure this programme will be workable for our membership. The Union began working on another counter-proposal to present back, however, the day concluded with the counter proposal not yet complete. The Reserve Article will continue to be negotiated at Round 8 in Calgary this Wednesday through Friday.

It should come as no secret or surprise that bargaining had recently become somewhat contentious, with the atmosphere in the room showing signs of decay. The Employer had become, in our view, less and less open to hearing our perspectives and the reasoning behind why we were presenting certain things, or why we could not agree to others.

In an effort to provide clarity to our membership: the tone at the table changed significantly this week. In the view of the Committee, the tone, approach and demeanour with which the Employer interacted with us was felt to have made a major turn for the better. There were many back-and-forths, and another article was ‘parked,’ however, this is normal in Collective Bargaining. All of our concerns were legitimately being heard and respected, even where disagreements remained. The most recent counter brought to us by the Employer demonstrated significant willingness to hear our issues, and make a meaningful effort to address many of them. We take this development as a positive sign.

Although this refreshed atmosphere at the table is new, we will not take for granted that it will continue indefinitely. The Committee is cautiously optimistic that we can begin to develop a better relationship with the Employer.

Round 8 of Bargaining will take place Wednesday, September 18th to Friday, September 20th in Calgary, and continue to deal with Reserve as well as Scheduling.

If you have any questions about the Collective Bargaining process, please engage your Mobilizing Team at:

In Solidarity,
Your CUPE 4070 Bargaining Committee