One of Jazz Aviation’s Bombardier CRJ900s.
It was a hallmark year for the pilots of Jazz Aviation, as all ALPA pilots in Canada celebrated the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association (CALPA), which 60 years later merged with the Air Line Pilots Association to form today’s ALPA, International. Then in 2001, the four Air Canada regional airlines, including Canada Regional Airlines, successfully merged to become the modern Jazz Aviation. Through that merger, the Jazz Master Executive Council (MEC) built a strong relationship with Jazz Aviation management, and in 2015 both parties reached agreement on a stable, long-term collective agreement.
“History is an important part of the decision-making process we use to best represent our pilot group,” said Capt. Claude Buraglia, the Jazz MEC chairman. “We also believe it’s important to pass along some of that history to our newest members. The MEC is a champion of promoting a stable and respectful professional pilot career progression, and 2017 is the year that we began to see the opportunity to move this initiative forward,” Buraglia acknowledged.
One of the pilot group’s biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months came in September when the MEC signed a historic letter of understanding (LOU) with Jazz Aviation management and introduced the concept of “seniority portability” for pilots at Bearskin and Wasaya who are hired through the Jazz Aviation pathways program. “The LOU gives pilots who wish to move to Jazz seniority on our list prior to actually flying for Jazz,” said Buraglia. This seniority is for the purpose of bidding position, schedule, and vacation and protects all pilots at Bearskin and Wasaya who wish to come to Jazz in the future.”
Another high point for the group included an overhaul of its communications strategy. The MEC worked closely with its Communications Committee and ALPA’s Communications Department to help reach its goals and promote pilot engagement. The most notable result of the combined efforts is the new, easy-to-navigate MEC website. And in an effort to engage with the generation known as “millennials,” a private Facebook page for members is in the works. “Communicating with our members has been a constant challenge due to the changing demographic of our pilot group,” explained Buraglia. “There’s a lack of connection to the workplace that we believe is not a localized issue for our airline or our industry. Finding a way to bridge this gap will be a priority for us going forward in 2018.”
Looking ahead, the Jazz MEC hopes to refine its Membership Committee new-hire presentation and work with ALPA national to produce a video explaining the Association’s history in Canada, its organizational structure, and the many benefits the union offers its members.
The MEC will also explore new ways to advance its brand as a stable, respectful, and professional pilot group in the Air Canada Express operation. “We not only believe that this will benefit the pilots we represent, but it will also benefit the other professional pilots within the Air Canada family,” Buraglia noted.