The WestJet pilots play a crucial role in the success of WestJet Airlines. We began negotiations with our airline’s management team in September 2017. After nine months of negotiations, which includes a 60-day federal conciliation period, we are closing the gap on many issues, particularly working conditions, total compensation, and job security.
Under the Canada Labour Code, a 21-day cooling off period began on April 28 and runs through May 18, after which the WestJet pilots may engage in lawful job action in support of a reasonable, industry standard contract. On May 25, 2018, both WestJet Airlines and its pilots agreed to extend negotiations to June 15, 2018 and not take any self-help action.
Will WestJet pilots strike or engage in a job action?
The WestJet pilots seek a fair contract commensurate with our peers that provides for fair pay, healthy working conditions, and real job security. Clearly, we do not want to engage in a strike or lawful job action of any kind, and remain hopeful that management will stop outsourcing our work, listen to our concerns, and address our serious, well-constructed proposals.
WestJet management can also choose to take a self-help action during the bargaining process: lock out its employees and shut down airline operations. Clearly, we would rather negotiate for a fair contract instead of leaving tens of thousands of WestJet travelers stranded across the world, putting WestJet staff out of a job, and jeopardizing the economic future of the airline.
For all the years that WestJet pilots have been transporting you and your loved ones safely around Canada and to destinations beyond, we ask you to lend us a hand by:
As professional pilots, we operate in a heavily regulated environment where strict rules govern the way we safely transport passengers from one location to another. However, when it comes to a pilot's own working conditions at WestJet Airlines, there are no real enforceable rules governing our work life.
In May 2017, the WestJet pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l, in order to control our futures by creating a genuine, enforceable contract instead of the guidelines fashioned by a management supported in-house committee.
The contract we seek must recognize our true value, vast experience, and the professionalism we bring to the cockpit every day. This means that our contract should be in line with our North American peers in terms of total compensation, healthy work rules, and real job security.
These are not unattainable goals and should be easily achieved with an airline earning record continuous profits. However, it does require management to show up to the bargaining table prepared and with the authority to conclude this negotiation fairly.
Headquartered in Calgary, WestJet is Canada’s second-largest airline with more than 1,500 pilots and hubs in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. We, the WestJet pilots, operate an average of 425 flights per day with service to 100 destinations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.