Release #: 23.03
April 18, 2023

WestJet Pilots Vote to Authorize Strike

Union Leaders Urge WestJet Management to Fairly Conclude Negotiations

Calgary, AB—With less than a week before the end of conciliation, WestJet pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), sent a strong message to WestJet management with an overwhelming vote of support for lawful job action, should a negotiated settlement not be reached by May 16.

With 95 percent of pilots voting, an overwhelming 93 percent voted to strike if needed. This vote is a clear sign that WestJet pilots remain committed to securing a North American industry-standard contract. Such a contract will go a long way toward fixing WestJet’s recruitment and retention issues, which are largely due to the airline trying to reduce costs by driving down wages and refusing to address scheduling concerns and other poor working conditions, including job security for our members especially given WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing. WestJet, despite repeatedly touting its growth strategy, is hemorrhaging around 30 pilots per month and is on track to lose up to 20 percent of its experienced pilot work force within the next year.

“On average, every 18 hours a WestJet Group pilot turns in their wings for a better career,” said Capt. Bernard Lewall, chair of the ALPA WestJet Master Executive Council. “We are hopeful that today’s strong strike vote result and the excellent show of unity displayed during our informational picket last month incentivize management to reach an agreement with us—an agreement that will provide job security and career progression for our pilots and, most importantly, stability to the airline and our passengers.”

While flight disruptions are never an ideal outcome for pilots or passengers, WestJet pilots are prepared for any outcome, thanks in large part to a $2 million (USD) grant from our union’s war-chest, which was unanimously authorized by ALPA’s Executive Board.

“Our goal is to avoid a strike; however, WestJet fails to recognize the value and the expertise we bring to our airline and the pride we have in transporting our guests safely to their destinations every day,” reiterated Lewall. “We want to continue being a major contributor to WestJet’s success and help our airline achieve its growth strategy, but if management leaves us no other option, we will be ready to take job action only if forced.” 

The pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action May 16; however, ALPA remains committed to the bargaining process and will make their negotiators available during the 21-day cooling-off period, which is set to expire May 13. If no agreement has been reached at that time, ALPA will be able to file a 72-hour strike notice. Visit for up-to-date information.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 67,000 pilots at 39 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or