WestJet Workers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport have joined Unifor. In a release, the union announced that the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) certified Unifor on 29JUL as the sole bargaining agent for 374 WestJet workers at YYZ.
As OpenJaw reported, also on 29JUL, 800 newly-unionized WestJet workers at YYC and YVR ratified their first contract negotiated by Unifor with WestJet. The new, 5-year agreement came after WestJet baggage, customer, and priority service agents in Calgary and Vancouver airports joined Unifor in MAY of 2021.
“WestJet workers in Toronto have gained a voice in their workplace, joining with workers in Vancouver and Calgary as members of Unifor,” said Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne. “These employees have tremendous experience to offer their employer as airlines face an increase in travel demand from pre-pandemic travel demand.”
Payne added, “It is imperative that workers have a strong voice in future decisions at WestJet to ensure fairness and job protection with the airline.”
According to the union, as airline travel rebounded post-pandemic, airline workers, including those in Toronto, have often faced increased pressures as frontline representatives with the public when plans did not go as expected due to flight delays, cancellations and long wait times at the airport.
“I’m happy to join my co-workers in Calgary and Vancouver as members of Unifor. United together, we look forward to growing WestJet while providing good jobs and benefits to employees who provide exceptional daily service,” Wesley Watson, a Customer Service Agent in the baggage department, was quoted in Unifor’s media release.
Unionization “is an important step in creating more stability, predictability and protection. I’m happy that collectively we have found our voice as we move toward fairness with fair treatment for ourselves, our co-workers and our families,” Michelle Lindo-Collins, WestJet Customer Service Agent, said.
“Our collective efforts to sustain the day-to-day operation and hold onto what WestJet represents have weighed on us all through these difficult times. Along with Unifor, we hope to build on the momentum to see change here in Toronto. We look forward to growing WestJet and positively impacting our guests throughout their travel plans,” said Keaton Cole, WestJet Customer Service Agent.
Unifor represents 7,500 airport agents at other airlines, including Air Canada, Jazz, Porter, First Air, Calm Air and more. In all, Unifor represents more than 16,000 workers across the airline industry.