- Flight attendants across Canada are protesting for unpaid hours of work.
- The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) launched the Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign to ensure flight attendants are adequately and fairly compensated for their work.
- CUPE represents 18,500 flight attendants from Air Transat, WestJet, Air Canada, and other regional airlines who are expected to perform 35 hours of unpaid work each month.
- These duties include pre-flight safety checks, boarding processes, deplaning passengers and managing ground delays at the gate – all without pay – adding up to nearly a full work-week of labor for which they receive no compensation.
- The aim of the initiative is to spread awareness about these issues and gain recognition from airlines, in order to ensure flight attendants are respected and paid properly for their service.
April 25, 2023, Canada – Flight attendants across Canada are rallying for compensation for all the work they do on and off planes, an issue that has been in place for over seven decades. On Tuesday, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) participated in ‘information pickets’ at four major airports – Vancouver International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Toronto-Pearson, and Montreal-Trudeau – to raise awareness about their cause.
Leading the charge was Wesley Lesosky, a flight attendant with Air Canada and president of CUPE’s airline division, who believes it is time for a change. He noted that there are a number of jobs flight attendants do without pay, such as safety-related tasks and preparations, boarding passengers, deplaning flights, and waiting around airports. As such, he argued that if attendants appear in uniform they should be compensated accordingly.
Unpaid Work Won’t Fly Campaign by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
The Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign was launched earlier in April by CUPE’s Airline Division. The aim of the initiative is to ensure that flight attendants receive adequate and fair compensation for their work, which currently goes unpaid in a number of areas. This includes pre-flight safety checks, boarding processes, deplaning aircraft, ground delays at gates, and training sessions which are often paid at half the hourly rate.
The CUPE represents 18,500 flight attendants from various airlines including Air Transat (currently negotiating a new collective agreement), WestJet, and Air Canada whose agreements are set to expire in coming years.
CUPE believes it is unacceptable for flight attendants to put in 10-12 hours on a shift but only get paid for 8 hours or less. To spread awareness about the cause, over 27000 people have already signed up on the dedicated website – unpaidworkwontfly.ca –
List of Airlines under CUPE
CUPE’s Airline Division represents approximately 18,500 flight attendants including:
- Air Canada (and Air Canada Rouge)
- WestJet (including WestJet Encore and Swoop)
- Air Transat
- Calm Air
- PAL Airlines
- Canadian North
- Flair Airlines
As revealed by a recent survey, flight attendants in Canada are typically expected to perform 35 hours of unpaid duties every month. This includes pre-flight safety checks, boarding processes, deplaning passengers, and managing ground delays at the gate – all without pay – adding up to nearly a full work-week of labor for which they receive no compensation. What’s more, training is often paid for at half the hourly rate.
Here is a post on their official Twitter page regarding this issue:
CUPE out on Parliament Hill today in support of @psac_afpc members on day 8 of their strike. The rainy weather didn't dampen their enthusiasm or their resolve. #CanLab #PSACstrike #WorkersCantWait pic.twitter.com/WL0lnA1QFb
— CUPE National (@cupenat) April 26, 2023
CUPE Ontario showed up to say, #unpaidworkwontfly!
No one should have to work without compensation. On this National Day of Action to End Unpaid Work, we let airline employers all over the country know that their employees should be getting paid for the work they do! pic.twitter.com/zkReFJ2ChY
— CUPE Ontario (@CUPEOntario) April 25, 2023
Here’s a post on Twitter by Fred Hahn, President of @CUPEOntario:
Did you know flight attendants in Canada work for an average of 35 hours for free every month? Think that’s messed up? So do I. Add your voice to tell the federal government and the big airlines: unpaid work won’t fly: https://t.co/cEixUlXQvk #unpaidworkwontfly
— Fred Hahn (@FredHahnCUPE) April 25, 2023