CUPE Challenges Air Canada’s Plan to Reduce Flight Attendants

By | August 11, 2014
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Air Canada Flight Attendant
Air Canada Flight Attendant. Photo: Air Canada

[Avionics Today 08-11-2014] The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is challenging a Transport Canada decision to exempt Air Canada from maintaining the current ratio of one flight attendant for every 40 passenger seats on commercial flights. CUPE, the union representing more than 7,000 Air Canada flight attendants, says the exemption is unlawful, and has filed a legal challenge with the Federal Court to have the exemption quashed. The union claims that reducing the number of flight attendants on an aircraft is a threat to passenger safety should something go wrong mid-flight, such as fire, evacuation, cabin decompression or a terrorist attack.

"Fewer flight attendants means more risks for passengers. We're confident the courts will see this simple fact," said Michel Cournoyer, president of CUPE's Airline Division.
CUPE has asked the Federal Court for a judicial review of Transport Canada's decision to grant the exemption to Air Canada. CUPE will argue that the exemption is illegal because the criteria set out in the Aeronautics Act for granting such an exemption were ignored by Transport Canada.

"Bending to airline industry pressures to reduce the number of flight attendants for the sake of increasing profits is inexcusable," said Cournoyer. "The threat this exemption poses is undeniable."

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