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Air Canada pilots kickstart bargaining, hot on heels of WestJet crew wage gains

June 13, 2023
The Canadian Press

An Air Canada flight to Toronto prepares to board in Las Vegas in 2020. (Talent Canada)

Air Canada pilots are kickstarting the bargaining process with their employer, days after their fellow union members at WestJet ratified a new collective agreement.

Representing about 4,500 employees, the Air Line Pilots Association’s Air Canada contingent says it has provided a bargaining notice to company management, the first step toward hashing out a new deal.

The decision comes two weeks after the pilots group invoked a clause to end its 10-year collective agreement a year early and launch negotiations over a new one.

Charlene Hudy, who heads the contingent, says key issues include a growing wage gap between Canadian pilots and their U.S. counterparts as well as job security and career progression.


The move also comes after 1,800 pilots with WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop ratified a new deal that brings them onto a level pay scale, giving flight crews a 24 per cent wage bump over four years and resulting in Swoop’s shutdown at the end of October.

Experts say the agreement sets a new standard in Canadian aviation that will put pilots closer to U.S. pay levels and up costs for airlines still recovering from pandemic losses.

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