Despite a deal reached by Air Canada and its unions, which the union said they achieved 80% of their demands, Air Canada Flight Attendants failed to ratify it. 87% of the union membership voted against the deal. The union had hoped the membership would accept the terms. This sets the stage for Air Canada Flight Attendants to go on strike as of 12:01 am on Thursday.
The union said that they were able to settle 80% of its demands, including wages, crew rest, pensions, working conditions and work rules. This is the second rejection of a tentative agreement by flight attendants. While Air Canada says it will work toward avoiding a strike, it has vowed to maintain a partial schedule.
Air Canada's Sales and Support Staff reached a deal after the first day of a three day walk out in June, after the federal government threatened with back to work legislation. The government is considering its options in this instance but said that it was unacceptable for the flight attendants to stage a strike during this fragile economy.
The union hopes that Canada will respect their right to collective bargaining and not to intervene.
"We ask the federal government, in the strongest possible terms, to respect our right to collective bargaining and not intervene unilaterally in this dispute,” the union said.
The federal government vowed to impose a contract on flight attendants if they walk off the job.
Opposition parties, especially the New Democratic Party have been critical of the governments threats of back to work legislation.
With 80% of demands met, it seems logical to ratify them. An imposed deal may very well be less. With a fragile economy and over 1 million unemployed Canadians, it seem logical to accept those 80%.
Air Canada is the primary air carrier within Canada. West Jet, which has expanded its services over time, is a non-union airline and gains on customers each time there is a service disruption with Air Canada.