Unifor rallies to protect scope work for its members after Air Canada contracts bus shuttle company

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A large group of people standing in the airport under the P sign holding up Unifor flags and place cards that read "Bus or plane Unifor scope still the same"

Holding placards that read, “Bus or plane, Unifor scope is still the same,” more than 50 Unifor members and supporting unions and aviation organizations rallied at Pearson International Airport on June 5 to protect their scope work after Air Canada recently hired a bus company to shuttle passengers to different airports.

“Collective agreements exist to draw a clear line on which work belongs to our members,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Air Canada needs to respect the skilled and experienced work Unifor members do for them each day and keep scope work strictly within the bargaining unit.”

On May 1, Air Canada began a new bus service to bridge nearby Southern Ontario airports. Landline, the contracted company, shuttles passengers between Hamilton and Kitchener airports to Pearson.

The issue, said Unifor Airlines Director Sandi McManus, is processing the passengers is considered scope work that should be performed by Unifor members at Local 2002 and their collective agreement has strong scope language protecting their duties, which Air Canada should respect and immediately give back to the members.

“This will set a negative precedent, as we believe this is our scope work, and we should be doing it, whether Air Canada says it’s for a trial period or not,” said McManus. “We want the employer to use our Unifor members to do the work and our members are proud and eager to perform the additional work.”

The union has filed two grievances with Air Canada, as a result.

The scope work includes check-in, issuing baggage tags, verifying travel documents, seat selection, processing, and re-booking customers, and on arrival, meeting the bus and assisting customers, including providing directions and connecting flight information. 

Unifor members also provide mobility assistance, including to the visually impaired.

Currently, the details of the contract between Air Canada and Landline are unknown. The Landline buses involved have 36 seats on board.

“Air Canada has told us bookings are averaging 6% and probably will not last the summer, but the company is missing the point,” said Unifor Local 2002 President Tammy Moore. 

“This is our members’ scope work, and we must defend it. The fact that they are not using us even at the Toronto Pearson location is completely unacceptable.”

See photos of the rally

Three men hold up place cards in front of a Air Canada bus that read : Bus or plane Unifor scope is the same
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