Scrooged by Sunwing, flight attendants designate employer cheapskate of the year
21 décembre 2012
Friday December 21, 2012 Today, tired of being scrooged,
the union representing flight attendants at Sunwing awarded their
employer an informal and symbolic prize for cheapskate of the year.
Unionized since March 2012, flight attendants have been negotiating
their first collective agreement since early September. According
to the union, so far, talks have been completely unsuccessful.
What they have actually put on the table is
insulting. This from Sunwing, the airline company that pays flight
attendants less than any other carrier and who, at the same time,
is Canadas most profitable airline. We have not given up hope, but
it feels like were up against the Scrooge of the Canadian airline
industry, says Caroline Bédard, CUPE National Representative and
responsible for the Sunwing negotiations.
Wednesday, the company filed for conciliation with the Federal
Mediation and Conciliation Service. Talks will resume in January
with the help of a mediator. We are hoping to have a fresh start
because so far, we were going nowhere, explained Mark Brancelj,
President of the Sunwing flight attendants union, Canadian Union of
Public Employees Local 4055.
The goal of these negotiations is to raise the fight attendants
working conditions to the level of standards set by the airline
Last March, approximately 900 flight attendants chose to join CUPE
in a vote conducted by the Canada Industrial Relations Board. Since
the vote, the union local has been busy building, training and
organizing. The negotiating committee on the unions side is made
up of members from each of the airlines six bases: Vancouver,
Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec.
Sunwing is a highly profitable company in an industry where
competitors are struggling. Management totes up that they are the
only airline with a profit margin oscillating around the 6% mark,
while their competitors are showing margins around 1% and 1.5%, at
best. The airline carrier continues to grow. Its 2012 profits are
expected to reach about $70 million.
CUPE is Canada’s largest airline union. With workers from Sunwing,
CUPE now represents nearly 10,000 flight attendants at both large
and smaller air carriers including: Air Canada, Air Transat,
CanJet, First Air, Cathay Pacific, CALM Air, Canadian North, and
the ground agents at Porter Airlines in Ottawa.
With around 618,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers
in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities,
social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency
services, communications and airlines.