ALPA Canada: Trend Positive + Growing

By Capt. Tim Perry, ALPA Canada President

We each do better when we all do better.

And we have some outstanding examples of ALPA pilots working together for the benefit of our members in every corner of the country. Looking ahead to 2020, we can’t help but feel excited as we continue to safeguard our passengers and cargo and build a strong profession to inspire and attract new pilots in the future.

In Montréal, our pilots at Air Transat are in merger discussions as the purchase by Air Canada continues to move forward. Representing these pilots is our first priority, as they also top the list of those in bargaining—or preparing for it—this year, joining Air Georgian, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, Sky Regional, and Wasaya. The Jazz MEC has led the way by bringing the Air Georgian pilots into their ranks on a date-of-hire basis, bringing the Air Canada flying back to Jazz. And at Wasaya, the pilots are voting on a tentative agreement as this issue of Air Line Pilot goes to press.

In the far north, pilot leaders face consolidation at First Air, Canadian North, Bearskin, and Perimeter. These leaders have done a phenomenal job of working together to raise the bar, merge their contracts and pilot groups in an amicable manner, and do their part to build successful airlines.

In Calgary, the WestJet/Swoop and WestJet Encore pilots successfully ratified a new pilot transfer agreement. Now WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots who wear the same uniform and fly aircraft painted with the same colour tails share a common seniority list. This will increase pilot unity at the airlines and across our industry, building a stronger foundation for job security, career progression, and pilot attraction and retention due to the unprecedented pilot supply dynamic playing out right now.

Since 2017, ALPA has welcomed pilots from WestJet, WestJet Encore, Air Georgian, and Sky Regional, along with Exchange Income Corporation pilot groups at Perimeter, Air Borealis, and Provincial Airlines—bringing us to 14 Canadian airline pilot groups and almost 5,500 pilots. Over the next year, we’re confident that the ALPA Canada family will continue to grow.

Here in Ottawa, we look forward to working with newly elected government officials on our legislative priorities, including implementing the new pilot fatigue rule by December 2020. We must ensure that fatigue risk management systems are fair and safe by making sure pilots, airlines, and Transport Canada work together to maintain the foundational truth that nothing contributes more to safety than two well-rested, well-trained pilots on the flight deck. We’re working through the Safer Skies Coalition, which consists of airline pilot groups representing more than 9,000 Canadian pilots, to advance these goals.

Other items on the radar include continued engagement with government, industry, and other union stakeholders on the B-737 MAX issue so that we can be well positioned to offer informed comment and possible support for its reintroduction to service; the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems—an area in which we’ve enjoyed some success but also have more work to do; and the continued enhancement of commercial aviation safety in the far north, including access to deicing infrastructure, emergency response equipment and personnel, and improving communication abilities for flight crews operating there. And internationally, we engage in lockstep with our U.S. ALPA colleagues at the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and with the International Civil Aviation Organization on issues of minimum flight crew requirements and advancing training standards to continue to improve global aviation safety. We’re also working through IFALPA to raise the bar for collective bargaining worldwide because our industry is increasingly global, and the union principles that have contributed to strong contracts here at home must be employed for the benefit of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Working together, with clear pilot leadership from our elected Canada Board members and volunteers right down to our staff members across Canada and the U.S.—who provide the world’s best expertise and resources for our pilots—we’ll continue to trend positive.

This article was originally published in the January 2020 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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