Bloomberg News

Air Canada Files Labor Complaint Against Attendants Union

October 13, 2011

(Updates with airline statement in second paragraph.)

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Air Canada filed a complaint accusing its flight attendants’ union of unfair labor practices after a planned strike was blocked by the government.

The Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees engaged in “bad-faith conduct” during negotiations on a tentative contract rejected last month in a rank-and-file vote, the airline said today in a statement.

Air Canada said the union presented modified demands during contract discussions that boosted the costs of its proposal, widening the gap with management. The union also failed to take “all necessary efforts” to win ratification of the last labor accord, the Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based airline said.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board received the complaint late yesterday and processed it this morning, Executive Director Ginette Brazeau said by telephone. The board is scheduled to meet with the union and Air Canada tomorrow, Brazeau said.

Union members had planned to walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. today after turning down two proposed contracts since August with the nation’s largest airline. The strike was thwarted when Labor Minister Lisa Raitt filed two referrals yesterday about the dispute with the Industrial Relations Board.

An e-mail message to the union today for comment about the Air Canada complaint wasn’t immediately returned, and a telephone call to the union’s office went unanswered. The union said yesterday that Raitt’s intervention was “outrageous.”

Raitt had questioned whether a walkout would affect public health and safety and whether the union had created unfavorable settlement conditions with the two contract rejections. Canada law suspends the right to strike while a referral on health and safety grounds is being considered, according to a statement from the labor board.

--Editors: Ed Dufner, James Langford

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Perlberg in New York at hperlberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net


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