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Air Canada pilots union to seek conciliator, says parties are far apart in talks

June 3, 2024  By Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

The union representing Air Canada pilots says it plans to ask that a federal conciliator be assigned to assist in contract negotiations with the airline. An Air Canada plane taxis towards the gate in poor weather conditions at Halifax Airport, in Halifax, Wednesday, March 27, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Air Canada pilots intend to request help from a federal conciliator to assist in stalled contract negotiations with the airline, the union representing them announced Sunday.

The Air Line Pilots Association, representing more than 5,000 Air Canada pilots, said the two sides are not close to a deal despite a year of contract talks, including close to six months of voluntary mediation.

“Unfortunately, Air Canada continues to undervalue your contributions to the success of this airline,” said Charlene Hudy, head of the union’s Air Canada contingent, in a video message to members.

She said that while talks have allowed the two sides to reach important agreements, they remain too far apart in negotiations and so pilots will be leaving the voluntary process on June 15.


The union says it will file a notice of dispute to inform the federal Minister of Labour that they’ve attempted, but failed, to reach a collective agreement, and to request the minister assign a conciliator.

Air Canada said in a statement that the airline remains committed to achieving a fair, negotiated agreement.

“Air Canada has worked hard and in good faith to reach a new collective agreement with ALPA under the bargaining protocol and the talks conducted under the bargaining protocol led to significant progress,” it said.

The airline said it will continue to push for an agreement in the coming months under the normal bargaining process, insisting customers can continue to book and travel with confidence on Air Canada.

Canadian pilots have been seeking gains that will bring them closer to deals won by their counterparts in the U.S.

Between March and September last year, pilots at Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines secured agreements that included four-year pay hikes ranging from 34 per cent to 40 per cent.

Hudy has called the wage gap between Canadian and American pilots “unacceptable.”

The Canada Labour Code stipulates the minister has up to 15 days to appoint a conciliator, after which a 60-day period of talks begin. If no deal is reached in the talks, there’s a 21-day cooling-off period before the union could be in a position to strike.

Last week, WestJet Encore reached a deal with its pilots to narrowly avoid a potential strike.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2024.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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