WestJet reaches tentative agreement with union that represents more than 3,100 cabin crew

Westjet says it has reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees on a first collective agreement that would cover more than 3,100 cabin crew if ratified.

CUPE has represented cabin crew at Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. since 2018 and has engaged the company in collective bargaining toward a union contract since April 2019.

In a statement, CUPE Local 4070 president Chris Rauenbusch characterized the news as a “monumental task” given COVID-19 travel restrictions and layoffs.

“[This is] an unprecedented achievement at the height of trying times for our industry,” he said.

The union and the company now will await a ratification vote from the membership. In a statement, Ed Sims, WestJet’s president and CEO, said he was pleased with the development.

“Our cabin crew members are a valued and integral part of the WestJet team and it is our goal to continue supporting them as they continue the safe, caring service our guests expect of WestJet,” Sims said.

In early February, WestJet announced it would lay off 120 cabin crew members as of March 2, saying a lack of flights to Mexico and the Caribbean contributed to the move.

Last week, the company said it would also lay off an undisclosed number of pilots as labour negotiations continued.

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