February 08, 2021
Earlier today the IAMAW met with Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to discuss the future of Canada’s air transportation, and aviation sectors. Canadian General Vice-President Stan Pickthall voiced once again the need for a comprehensive sound policy to ensure the long-term viability of Canadian air carriers, both large and regional.
Pickthall said: “Workers need support. Many of our members and other workers across the aviation sector have been out of work for the best part of a year now. Unlike the big airlines, workers don’t have billions of dollars in cash reserves – they are relying on the federal government to give them some help.” He also noted that rapid testing protocols and rollout of vaccines will go a long way to getting passengers back onto aircraft.
Chief-of-Staff Gord Falconer reminded the Minister that the closure of regional airports not only impacts airport workers, but entire communities. “This is a sector-specific issue” said Falconer, “and it requires an urgent sector-specific response. Ten thousand IAMAW members are laid-off, including many of our members in aircraft maintenance and technical operations classifications. Members are laid off while work is being done outside of the country – This is work our members can and should be doing here in Canada”.
Pickthall and Falconer also said that with Air Canada seeking a switch to Cargo operations, they will continue to press the company to perform conversion work in Canada, using their own skilled aviation technicians.
Minister Alghabra thanked the IAMAW for bringing these issues to the forefront and acknowledges the urgency and importance of the transportation sector in Canada. These issues were included in an IAMAW submission to the Transportation Standing Committee in January of this year. This was a follow-up call, as we continue to press government on the need to support our members and the industry.
The IAMAW is the largest union in Air Transportation and Aviation in Canada. We are also the largest union representing workers at many service providers in airports across the country, working in airlines, on the ground, aircraft maintenance, and as the bargaining agent for nearly 90% of screening officers across Canada.
Stan Pickthall, IAM Canadian General Vice-President
Gord Falconer, IAM Canada Chief-of-Staff
Derek Ferguson, GLR, Political Action