Release #: WJA 18.02
April 20, 2018

WestJet Pilots Receive $2 Million Grant to Aid in Reaching First Contract

Calgary, AB—Today—the one-year anniversary since WestJet Airlines pilots formally sought ALPA representation—the pilots received a substantial financial boost to their bargaining power thanks to the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) as they approach their goal of a first collective agreement with WestJet management.

WestJet and its pilots have been in contract negotiations since September 2017. The Ministry of Labour has directed significant resources to assisting with bargaining throughout the 60-day conciliation process, which ends on April 27. WestJet pilot negotiators have repeatedly made it known that they were available every day during that period to meet with management’s negotiators. Unfortunately, WestJet management has, so far, only committed to 14 days of contract talks during conciliation. If the sides fail to reach a collective agreement by April 27, a statutory 21-day cooling-off period begins, after which the two sides would be released into legal self-help.

“As professional pilots, we seek an industry-standard contract commensurate with our peers that provides for fair pay, working conditions, and real job security,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council. “We have invested our careers in our airline, and have helped build WestJet into the financially successful airline it is today. Now it is management’s turn to recognize our investment in the airline and bargain a fair agreement with us.”

ALPA’s Executive Board unanimously approved a $2 million grant to the WestJet pilots from its Major Contingency Fund, a $46 million fund that provides ALPA pilot groups with the necessary resources to protect and advance the piloting profession.

“Our goal remains to reach a reasonable collective agreement that brings stability to WestJet Airlines,” McFadyen said. “We continue to hope for the best, but remain prepared for any outcome. This additional financial assistance from our international union provides the WestJet pilots with additional resources to help secure a contract that reflects our pilots’ enormous contribution to the success of WestJet and its record profits.”

If at the end of the 21-day cooling-off period the $2 million grant is still needed, it will be used to help fund a public campaign to advance negotiating efforts and other lawful self-help-related preparations in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, and elsewhere.

The grant announcement comes just weeks after the Canada Industrial Relations Board sided with the WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots, issuing an interim order against airline management, along with a cease and desist warning regarding management’s attempted hiring practices for Swoop. Today also marks a year since WestJet announced the no-frills airline.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 60,000 pilots, including the approximately 1,500 WestJet pilots and approximately 500 WestJet Encore pilots. ALPA represents 34 Canadian and U.S. airlines, including the flightcrew members who fly for Air Georgian, Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, Encore, First Air, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, WestJet, WestJet Encore, and Wasaya.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or