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Tue, May 15, 2018

WestJet Pilots Vote to Authorize A Strike, But Remain Focused On Negotiations

Union Leaders Can Call Strike If Contract Negotiations Break Down

With only a few days left in the 21-day cooling-off period, WestJet pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), sent another strong message to WestJet management late last week with an overwhelming vote of support for lawful job action or a strike. A 91 percent “yes” vote demonstrates WestJet pilots’ resolve for a fair contract that addresses the large gaps in proposals on total compensation, working conditions, and job security.

“The goal is—and always has been—to secure a fair collective agreement that brings stability to the airline, and not to strike,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council. “The strong results of our strike vote and the excellent turnout at our informational picketing event earlier this week should provide management the added incentive it needs to bring serious proposals to the bargaining table that address our concerns.”

The pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action on May 19; however, the Association has committed to having no job action over the Victoria Day (May) long weekend as the collective bargaining continues so travel plans will be unaffected.

Negotiators will now head to Halifax to continue negotiations starting next week and are committed to staying there for as long as it takes to get a deal done.

“It’s clear WestJet pilots are ready to stand up for the fair contract we deserve—one that puts us in line with our peers across the industry,” continued Capt. McFadyen. “Our pilots have built this airline, and now it is time for our efforts to be properly recognized in terms of industry-standard compensation and working conditions, and real job security that prevents management from outsourcing our jobs.”

"We acknowledge the outcome of this vote and recognize the mandate WestJet pilots have given ALPA," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO in a statement released to the media. "We are certain our guests will appreciate that this update confirms their travel will be unaffected over the Victoria Day long weekend."

"We remain at the negotiation table to drive a sustainable agreement, in the best interest of our pilots, 13,000 WestJetters and the 70,000 guests who fly with us daily."

(Source: ALPA and WestJet news releases)

FMI: www.alpa.org/wja, www.westjet.com

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