Air Canada To Layoff Over 1000 Aircraft Mechanics <


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Air Canada To Layoff Over 1000 Aircraft Mechanics

By Mike Mitchell

March 3, 2010 - Air Canada, Canada’s largest full service airline and the largest provider of scheduled passenger services in the Canadian market will be laying off over 1000 skilled aircraft mechanics.

"Over one thousand highly skilled aircraft mechanics at Air Canada will be laid off this April and the company doesn't give a damn," says a disgusted Fred Hospes, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 140 Regional Assistant Directing General Chairperson -Western Region.

"The Machinists have been negotiating layoff mitigation decisions with the company for months now and they agreed to everything but at the last minute, they tried to black mail us. It's bad faith bargaining plain and simple."


Hospes was referring to a last minute decision by Air Canada not to agree to the government-sponsored EI Workshare program unless the union agreed to withdraw from the mitigation programs already negotiated between the parties.

"This unethical bargaining tactic was simply requested because Air Canada is not willing to administrate the EI Workshare program," explained Hospes. "This program would have lessened the blow to our members and the company simply doesn't care."

On February 23rd and 24th union representatives, Air Canada and Aveos held closed door meetings, at these meetings the parties finalized and agreed to Special Voluntary Leave of Absence (SVLOA), Deferred Paid Leave Plan (DPLP), 100 hour time bank, Vacation Purchase Program (VPP), and Voluntary Special Time Bank Program.

Aero Technical Support & Services Inc., Aveos is a full-service Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) organization that provides airframe, engine and component maintenance and various ancillary services to more than 100 customers. Major bases are in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

The parties agreed to an early bumping process on paper. However, the layoff dates would not change. This process would allow members extra time to prepare for the future and for the Shop Committees to implement the agreed to mitigation programs. In addition, both companies agreed to set up of Resource Centers at the bases that are affected by layoffs.

Air Canada informed the Union that they would only agree to the Government Sponsored Workshare program if the Union would agree to withdraw from the mitigation programs already agreed to between the parties. This bargaining tactic was requested because the union believes they are not willing to administrate the EI Workshare program. Air Canada also advised the Union, that they would agree to a cost neutral Voluntary Separation Program (VSP). However, they requested that the Union agree to Collective Agreement concessions as well as an agreement that would violate the principles of seniority.

The Union, counter offered with a cost neutral VSP that was based on the principles of seniority with a Collective Agreement concession regarding the bumping process. Air Canada rejected the Union’s counter proposal. The Union advised both companies that the subcontracting out of any bargaining unit work would not be tolerated at a time when members are unemployed due to their business decisions.

As a result the Union will precede to a 3rd party Arbitrator to have previous arbitration decisions clarified and reinforced in an effort to obtain a subcontracting out protocol that would protect bargaining unit work and jobs. Both companies strongly expressed their unwillingness to proceed to a 3rd party arbitrator.

The Union will arbitrate the subcontracting out of the Canadian North heavy maintenance checks, the subcontracting of Cat 23 work to Black & MacDonald, NDT Category and Cat 13 work being performed by Cat 14. The layoffs will impact Air Canada stations in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montréal. The Machinists have continued throughout the weekend in attempts to bring Air Canada back to the table but without success.

"We are very concerned for the future of the more than one thousand members and their families who be impacted by this layoff," said Hospes. "We are currently in consultation with government officials as a result of Air Canada's unethical bargaining tactic and their decision to flat out reject the Government-sponsored EI Workshare program."

The IAMAW is the largest union at Air Canada representing more than 11,000 workers.

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