TORONTO – The 350 members of Unifor Local 531 have overwhelmingly ratified their first collective agreement with WestJet at Pearson International Airport in Toronto (YYZ).
“Congratulations to our WestJet members and the bargaining committee,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.
“Given the challenges for workers in the aviation sector coming out of the pandemic and the constant upheaval at airports across the country, workers know how important having a say over their working conditions is. This first agreement will be the foundation for better and decent work.”
The ratification vote took place on May 3 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto. The 2.5-year contract begins June 1, 2023, and expires Dec. 31, 2026.
The members in this unit are primarily customer service agents and baggage agents at YYZ.
Members in the new pay progression will receive between 8.4% and 20% wage increases within the first year of the new agreement and additional wage increases of 2% on Jan. 1 each year until 2026.
In addition, all breaks are now paid, and the company must provide eight-week schedules to allow members more stability and predictability.
WestJet Toronto workers will also receive 12 paid sick days if they are full-time and 10 for part-timers, as well as defined scope work language, the establishment of a grievance procedure and a Unifor Women’s Advocate position.
“We’re excited to deliver these gains to our members,” said Karen Berry, President of Local 531. “We are looking forward to having the YYZ (Toronto) members join their coworkers in YVR (Vancouver) and YYC (Calgary). Together, there is power in a union.”
Bargaining first began Oct. 24, 2022, after the Canada Industrial Relations Board certified Unifor’s application for the WestJet workers in Toronto to join the union last July.
Unifor represents 16,000 members across Canada in the aviation sector, including approximately 1,300 at WestJet in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 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.
For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative: Jenny Yuen or (416) 938-6157.