Air Canada pilots cancel ratification vote

Union unable to vote because of ‘controversial’ issues in agreement
||Last Updated: 04/18/2011

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) is cancelling their ratification vote planned for April 15 – 27. The union has indicated that parts of the agreement have “proved controversial” for pilots.

The union’s Master Executive Council (MEC) met with pilots across the country last week to discuss details of the tentative agreement. Concerns from the pilots arising from these meetings led to the MEC canceling the vote.

The association said it would not provide specific information on the contentious issues in the pact. It is believed, however, that many of the union’s 3,000 pilots have issues with plans in the agreement to put new hires on a defined-contribution pension plan. This plan would see the retiree paid-out based on the performance of the investments held by each member, as opposed to the guaranteed rate current pilots are paid-out at upon retirement.

Last week’s news of the airline’s plan to launch a discount leisure carrier also may also have contributed to the vote cancellation. It is believed that crews in this subsidiary would be paid on a different wage and benefit scale.

The MEC will meet April 19 to consider the union’s next steps, including the possibility of returning to the bargaining table before rescheduling the next vote.

About 1,300 pilots have also signed an online petition asking for the recall of council chairman Bruce White. The online petition says they are issuing the recall “due to the dysfunctional and ineffective Master Executive Council that has misguided our Negotiating Committee.” No other details are available.

The petition will be dealt with separately, according to Captain Paul Strachan, president of ACPA. He says that should all the names on the petition be verified as names of pilots, the union will consider holding a vote for White’s dismissal.

The ACPA was the first of four unions to reach an agreement with Air Canada this year. The airline will be conducting contract negotiations with unions representing about 22,400 employees across the country.

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