CAW Prepares for Strike Vote at Air Canada as Negotiations Lag

April 13, 2011, 10:15 AM EST

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Representatives of more than 3,800 CAW members at Air Canada met today in Toronto to prepare for a coming strike vote, should negotiations continue to lag with the airline. 

More than 100 area representatives were in attendance to report back on members' growing frustration at the airline's attacks on workers pensions, wages and benefits -particularly in light of yesterday's announced bonus for Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu.

"Our members have an absolute right to be furious," said CAW President Ken Lewenza, who addressed the group of workplace leadership this afternoon. "This company will have a fight on its hands if it keeps trying to put the squeeze on our pensions. This company has a responsibility, similar to our members' responsibility to the public, to treat these workers with dignity and respect -they have been falling short on their end of the bargain for far too long. People have had enough."

At the meeting, the union also distributed yellow "Fair Deal" bracelets which will be worn by members across the country until an agreement is reached. 

CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross, whose local union represents Air Canada workers and a number of other airline workers, said that after years of concessions at Air Canada, enough is enough -the company cannot cry poor while paying out exorbitant bonuses. "Our membership wants a fair deal and we'll be wearing our Fair Deal bracelets until we get one."

Talks opened up with the airline in early February and the agreement expired on February 28. Negotiations resume at the end of April.

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