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Spotted: Your reaction to Air Canada's strike cancellation

Categories: Canada, Politics

si-air-canada-istock.jpgThe union representing 6,800 Air Canada flight attendants says it has cancelled its planned strike for Thursday at midnight, after the Canada Industrial Relations Board said employees must remain on the job while their contract dispute is being reviewed.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the flight attendants, received formal notice Wednesday that Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has referred the contract dispute to the CIRB.

As news broke that the strike plans were cancelled, audience members took to the site to share their thoughts. Whether they were for or against the cancellation, all of the commenters were equally impassioned.

People kicked things off by speaking their minds about the merits and drawbacks of the contract dispute.

  • "I think they are paid very well for their role. Flight attendants in the USA make much less. Been there and done that," said rossful.
  • "[T]he last three contracts, unionized Air Canada employees have made many sacrifices. Each contract was give, give give," wrote raider61x. "Employees are frustrated. We have made many sacrifices. We have given and given and given to stave off bankruptcy. Yet at every contract time, bankruptcy is knocking at the door, again. What exactly were management receiving bonuses for?"
  • "Don't these unions know there is an economic downturn going on??? If they don't like the contract offered then they should just quit and find work elsewhere," remarked In Other News.
  • "At the end of the day, this shows a flaw between an outdated Labour Code and a Union not in sync with their members needs," cracker jack observed. "When is the last time a negotiator for either side, flew a turbulent flight across Canada, tried to get some rest at a noisy hotel then couldn't come home due to weather, then finally got in the air for another turbulent flight, then after minimal rest do it all over again?!?"

But CBC community members saved their most animated remarks for the subject of the government's involvement in the cancellation of the strike.

A few people began by taking issue with Labour Minister Lisa Raitt's reference to the health and safety of Canadians when she referred the contract dispute to the CIRB.

  • "It's funny that Lisa Raitt finds safety as one reason for forcing flight attendents to work but doesn't mention safety in flying with disgruntled flight crews who she would force to work," observed lkushn.
  • "This is abuse of authority on the part of the Minister and her government, she knows full well that the health and safety of Canadians will not be impacted by this strike, only the health of AC's bottom line," added  ChrisInOttawa.
Some commenters were in favour of the flight attendants being forced back to work.

  • "This union will break this company if they carry on and the competitors will fill the void. These union clowns should be happy the government has ordered them to work," wrote Hotter.
  • "The federal government has every right to intervene in the Air Canada dispute, after all they are federally regulated. A private business? Don't think so, might want to read upon the relationship between the feds and Air Canada for a start people," added peppypoo.

But an overwhelming amount of audience members were against the government's action.

·    "Forcing back-to-work legislation, or even threatening to do so, really favours one side of the issue - that being the employers - and in the short term, and long term, that does not make for a happy workforce," noted MBrunswick.
·    "Suggesting to remove the very laws that were brought in to protect employers from rampant and often Labour stoppages would put this Country back 200 years," said SteveL. "The right to strike is just that, a right, if you find it inconvenient then boo hoo."
·    "This is not a legal matter for the Feds to get involved in," observed  VerbTheAdjectiveNoun
·    "This is abusive to Canadians rights and we should not stand for it," added cbcfan1234.
·    "While normally I think the Unions themselves are just entities to suck the money out of the workers without doing much of anything, in this case, I support them continuing their plans forward towards strike action," wrote Witness7x10. "Mainly for reason that this is a negotiation that the government should have kept their nose out of in the first place."

peterg76 was one of the few commenters whose viewpoint seemed to fall somewhere in the middle.
"I strongly disagree with the strike, as it is purely an expression of greed by the union, but suspending job action while the Industrial Relations Board figures out if it's an essential service (hint: it's not) is ridiculous. Challenge the union's position on its merits or lack thereof, not with cowardly passive-aggressive loopholes."

Thanks, as always, to all of you for your feedback. At the time of this writing, many people were still posting comments to the Air Canada story, so we encourage you to weigh in if you haven't already. We look forward to your feedback!

Tags: Air Canada, Community, Community Reaction

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