Air Canada Contract Negotiations

They work for the only airline in the country that services large, medium and not-so-big Canadian communities. It competes against carriers that choose only the profitable routes and staff their planes with non-unionized workers. Air Canada's flight attendants want a better contract. The company says be grateful for what you've got. And the federal government is ready to legislate them into a deal.

Part One of The Current


It's Tuesday September 20th.

Greece's finance minister promises a government surplus by 2012.

Currently, His plan includes redefining the word surplus and introducing a new calendar that makes 2012 one hundred years away.

This is The Current.

Air Canada Contract Negotiations - Nancy Brownrigg

We started this segment with some tape from two Air Canada flight attendants with decades of experience between them, speaking of life in the air. And if it doesn't exactly sound like the glamorous lives led by the flight attendants of the swinging sixties, Air Canada says it's still pretty sweet.

Nevertheless, the company's 6800 flight attendants threaten to strike at midnight tonight, unless their union - the Canadian Union of Public Employees, or CUPE - can reach a contract deal with the airline. And there's a lot to negotiate. Wages, pensions, crew rest, working and working conditions have yet to be resolved. The company warns of disruptions and the noise out of Ottawa makes it clear the Harper government will legislate the attendants back to work if they do indeed walk off the job. As it stands talks between the two have broken off.

So fasten your seatbelts, passengers ... we could be in for a rough ride. And Nancy Brownrigg is right in the middle of it. She has been a flight attendant with Air Canada for 32 years, and is a member of CUPE's Toronto's strike committee. She was in Oakville this morning.

Air Canada Negotiations - Karl Moore

We did request an interview with Air Canada, but were turned down. However, Karl Moore has a good idea where Air Canada is coming from on this. He is a Professor of Management at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and has worked with the airline industry as a consultant for 20 years. Karl Moore joined us from Montreal.

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