New tentative agreement rejected by Air Transat flight attendants

CUPE’s Air Transat Component has announced that its 2,100 flight attendant members have rejected the tentative agreement reached on January 7.

At the end of a five-session general assembly process followed by a 10-day voting period, 81.9% of them voted no, with 88.7% participating in the vote.

Remuneration for hours worked on the ground before takeoff and after landing as well as the question of onboard staffing were the main sticking points.

The voting process also included a question on whether to renew the strike mandate which had expired on January 23.

The members voted 94.6% in favour of a new mandate, which will remain in effect until April 1, 2024.

The parties will return to the negotiating table quickly to resume discussions.

To prioritize the resumption of negotiations, the union will not issue any further comments on the refusal of the tentative agreement.

The previous collective agreement for these flight attendants, based at airports in Montreal (YUL) and Toronto (YYZ), expired on October 31, 2022. Negotiations began officially on April 27, 2023.

On November 27, during general assemblies, the flight attendants adopted a strike mandate by a nearly unanimous vote of 99.8%, by far the highest tally in the history of CUPE’s Air Transat Component.

On December 14, an initial tentative agreement was reached. On January 2, the union announced that flight attendants had voted 98.1% to reject it, with 87% of members participating in the vote.

The Air Transat Component is part of CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents more than 18,500 flight attendants employed at Air Transat, Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Sunwing, WestJet, Encore, Calm Air, Canadian North, Pivot Airlines, Flair Airlines, PAL and Pascan.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is the largest union in Canada, with 740,000 members across the country.

It represents workers in health care, emergency services, education, early learning and child care, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines and more.