WestJet has long treated its employees with impunity, altering policies, and dictating working conditions without fear of repercussions. All that changes when the right union comes on board.
On May 26, 2023, AMFA filed charges with the Canada Industrial Relations Board alleging that, since AMFA’s certification, WestJet has violated multiple provisions of the Canada Labour Code. The charges relate to WestJet’s unilateral attempt to change the benefits and rights extended to bargaining unit representatives and members.
WestJet previously provided AMEA officers with paid shift release, travel benefits, and other rights that helped those officers represent Tech Ops employees. AMEA is now defunct. Since AMFA’s certification, WestJet has liquidated the AMEA Executive Board and its employees no longer benefit from AMEA representation. As the successor to the AMEA, AMFA and its members are entitled to those same benefits and rights.
Under the Code, an employer may not change the terms and conditions of employment following union certification. It may not take any action that interferes with the administration of a union or that retaliates against employees because of their union membership.
WestJet is guilty on all counts. The AMEA benefits formed a term and condition of employment as surely as the AMEA wages and working conditions negotiated in 2019. Those benefits are now especially essential, as AMFA will rely on its WestJet representatives to help negotiate a first collective agreement. WestJet’s failure to honor its obligations under the Code interfere with the essential functions of the Union. Moreover, its actions are clearly meant to punish employees who sought union representation.
AMFA will hold WestJet accountable for its unlawful actions. It will continue to pressure the Company for a collective agreement that goes beyond the status quo and that guarantees improved wages and working conditions for WestJet aviation tradesmen.