Release #: GGN 18.02
October 10, 2018
ALPA Takes Legal Action Against Air Georgian
Pilots File Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Following Airline’s Series of Threats Against Its Pilots
TORONTO—Air Georgian pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), filed an unfair labour practice (ULP) complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) Wednesday. The complaint details how the airline violated several sections of the Canada Labour Code by bargaining in bad faith and otherwise acting inappropriately toward its pilot workforce. This legal action comes just 13 days after the pilots filed for conciliation in seeking their first collective agreement.
“Members of our airline’s management team have threatened this pilot group with layoffs for the Beech 1900 Toronto-based pilots since we asked the government for conciliation assistance,” said Capt. Jim Macarthur, chairman of ALPA’s Air Georgian Master Executive Council (MEC). “Our management representatives engaged in bad-faith bargaining by refusing to negotiate in earnest over an agreement to avert the layoff of up to 40 pilots as a result of the retirement of our Beechcraft 1900 fleet—unless we withdrew our request for conciliation.”
The ULP complaint also outlines other Air Georgian management misbehavior in addition to holding these 40 pilot jobs hostage. Specifically, management threatened that Air Georgian pilots would be prohibited from advancing to Air Canada under an agreement that Air Georgian has with the larger airline for career progression. Additionally, a senior company official began targeting a union negotiator for potential discipline or termination because of the union’s unwillingness to withdraw its request for government assistance.
“ALPA is committed to bargaining a fair collective agreement that represents what our pilots bring to the success of our airline,” Macarthur said. “After many months with very little progress, ALPA—in good faith—exercised our lawful right to request government assistance to expedite and conclude bargaining. Now, we’re filing a ULP to protect our members’ basic employment rights and our collective rights under the law.”
ALPA is asking the CIRB for a declaration that Air Georgian violated the Code, including an order directing the company to cease and desist the following:
- Any retaliations for ALPA requesting the assistance of conciliation;
- The layoff of any pilots, including the threat of laying off pilots;
- Threatening pilots that they may not be promoted to Air Canada; and
- Disciplining any ALPA representative because of their lawful union activities.
The pilots are also asking the CIRB to order Air Georgian to bargain in good faith with ALPA on all issues, properly post the Board’s findings in the workplace, and take any other action the Board deems appropriate. ALPA hopes to have the CIRB’s ruling on these issues in the coming weeks.
ALPA served notice to bargain for a new pilot contract over 20 months ago. The parties have only reached agreement on 3 of 30 contract sections, leaving plenty of bargaining to complete in conciliation. The Minister of Labour will appoint a conciliation officer who has a 60-day mandate to work toward reaching a tentative agreement. If the parties are unsuccessful in reaching such an agreement, absent a mutual extension of that timeline, there will be a 21-day cooling-off period. After this cooling-off period, the parties may, if necessary, engage in a strike or lockout.
“It is time for respect,” Macarthur said. “It is also time for this management team to recognize that threats and bullying are no way to treat employees in the modern workplace. And, most importantly, it is time for management to recognize we will stand up for our rights.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 61,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada. More than 5,100 of ALPA’s members are pilots for 11 Canadian airlines, including Canadian North, Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, First Air, Wasaya, Jazz Aviation, KF Aerospace, WestJet Encore, WestJet, and Air Georgian. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or Media@alpa.org