Pension Plan Dominates Talks Between CAW and Air Canada

May 26, 2009, 4:50 PM EST

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Talks between the CAW and Air Canada continue into a sixth day as the union makes every effort to secure the integrity of the pension plan while speculation that the company could go into CCAA lingers.

"Our members are tremendously concerned about the pension plan and the very public way that Air Canada has demanded funding relief," said Leslie Dias, president of CAW Local 2002. "This issue continues to be a major sticking point in our negotiations and Air Canada must understand the retirement security of our members is a key priority."

Dias said that in both 2003 and 2004, CAW members at Air Canada made major concessions in order to get the corporation back on track. Not only has that not happened, but the cuts have resulted in understaffing in airports and reservation offices, which has meant that members have had to do much more with fewer resources.

CAW Local 2002 represents 4,500 Air Canada workers across the country in customer service in airport terminals and reservation offices.

The CAW has an ongoing five-point campaign, which includes pressing the federal government to take an equity stake in the country's national carrier, stop the further payments to Robert Milton, block the wind-up of Air Canada parent company ACE Aviation Holdings, re-establish smart regulations on the airlines and require Air Canada to fully fund its pension plan.

Negotiations with Air Canada began on May 21 and the current agreement expires on May 31.

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