Air Canada’s rushed application for conciliation is premature and a departure from previous bargaining patterns, says the union representing over 4,100 Customer Sales and Service Agents. “We’re eager to negotiate in good faith and there are lots of items to discuss,” said Cheryl Robinson, President of Unifor Local 2002. “But Air Canada appears eager for government interference early in the process.” Usually used as a last resort after reaching an impasse, conciliation triggers the appointment of a federally appointed conciliator that works at the bargaining table with the employer and the union for up to 60 days. However, Unifor disagrees that negotiations are anywhere near an impasse.
“We’re only 14 days into bargaining and they’re already pressing the panic button,” said Leslie Dias, lead negotiator for Local 2002. “In all my years at Air Canada, I’ve never seen management so quick to declare an impasse.”
Regardless of Air Canada’s bargaining strategy, Unifor is confident that a negotiated settlement will be the outcome of these talks.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.