April 8, 2020
TORONTO— Unifor welcomes Air Canada’s announcement that it intends to use a new federal wage supplement plan to top up the pay of more than 3,000 Unifor members who were placed on Off Duty Status due to COVID-19.
“Canada’s airline industry has been resilient in the face of past economic downturns and health crises in the past. The same is not always true for airline workers who often bear hardship, loss of income, and deteriorating working conditions during the recovery process,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This time must be different. We have to show airline workers that they are valued. Air Canada is taking a big step toward recognizing the contributions of hardworking employees with today’s announcement.”
On March 31, Air Canada announced that it was putting 15,600 of its unionized workers on Off Duty Status effective on or about April 3, 2020, with no stated end date. Today’s announcement by the company that subject to final review of the legislation it plans to access the proposed Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program will benefit all employees on voluntary or involuntary layoff. The company will allow employees to stay at home while receiving 75 per cent of their wages to a maximum of $847 weekly.
“Unifor members in the airline sector face substantial, and lasting consequences as the efforts to contain the virus intensify around the world,” said Euila Leonard, President of Unifor Local 2002. “Today’s announcement gives a sigh of relief to workers, and shows that their employer respects the role they have played to make Air Canada one of the best airlines globally.”
On March 28, 2020, Unifor joined with other Canadian airline unions in sharing concerns and providing solutions to help the industry return to economic health and prosperity. Unifor has called on the government that any financial aid package delivered to any industry, including air travel must be accompanied by strong, enforceable conditions that ensure financial aid is tied to maintaining income for current employees and creating employment.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.
For further information: For media inquiries or to arrange an interview with Jerry Dias via Skype or FaceTime, contact Hamid Osman, Unifor National Communications Representative at 647-448-2823 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org