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Air Canada flight attendants’ union encouraged to see federal support for laid-off workers

The Air Canada Component of CUPE is encouraged to learn that flight attendants who lost their jobs due to downsizing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could soon come back onto company payroll. The airline and the federal government are looking to solidify an agreement to provide the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), under which the federal government assumes 75 per cent of workers’ wages.

“This would be an important piece of relief for our members who have endured some very difficult times over the past several months,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE. “They are due for a little bit of good news.”

The program would be retroactive to March 15, 2020. Flight attendants would be paid 75 per cent of normal hourly wages until June 6, 2020, or until they are recalled for duty – whichever comes first.

Support for impacted workers has been the top priority of the Component for any federal support for the airline sector. Lesosky said the union will continue to be vigilant to make sure workers stay at the front of the line.

CUPE represents approximately 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. Roughly 6,800 flight attendants, including all 1,549 flight attendants at Air Canada Rouge, were placed on “off-duty status” in March.

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