CAW Members Ratify New Deal with Air Canada

June 18, 2009, 8:51 PM EST

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CAW members have ratified a new 21-month collective agreement with Air Canada today by a margin of 76 per cent following a series of meetings that took place over the course of the week.

The deal includes some quality of life improvements, such as increased rest periods and partial shift trades. It also provides security on pensions for current and retired employees and restricts compensation to company executives.

The new agreement also establishes a multi-union Memorandum of Understanding on pensions, which includes 21-month moratorium on past service company pension contributions, a move CAW Local 2002 President Leslie Dias said was difficult to accept but will help members steer clear of a second round of Air Canada bankruptcy protection proceedings under CCAA.

"Having faced the challenges of bankruptcy protection once before, and knowing full-well the difficult economic conditions we face today, our members have accepted this agreement but with heavy hearts, no doubt," Dias said.

"Our members have given up more than their fair share to keep this company afloat, and we will be back at the table in the next year and a half looking to make substantial gains in this contract."

Maintaining current wage and benefit levels and protecting pensions for current employees and retirees was the key focus of the union heading into this latest round of negotiations, said Peggy Nash, Assistant to CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"Although not ideal, we managed to accomplish what we set out to do and that was to provide our members some sense of stability and security during these difficult times," Nash said.

CAW Local 2002 represents 4,500 customer sales and service agents across Canada. 

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