Politicians pass back-to-work legislation for Air Canada in the wee hours of the morning

by Alex Ballingall

Legislation forcing a government resolution to ongoing labour disputes at Air Canada passed through the House of Commons early this morning. The vote came in at about 1:30 a.m. Bill C-33 covers both disputes at the company, involving disagreements with airline ground workers and mechanics, and a separate conflict with Air Canada’s pilots. It will prevent the company from locking out its workers, and unions from going on strike, the National Post reports.

Industry Minister Lisa Raitt has been adamant that any work stoppage at Air Canada would damage the already-fragile Canadian economy, and would interfere with travel plans during March break. “You cannot have this impact on the economy and you can’t strand millions of Canadians without any means of getting back to their homes,” Ms. Raitt said Monday, quoted by the Globe and Mail.

It’s the second time in less than a year that the Harper Conservatives have interfered to resolve such issues at the airline. That has some labour organizers angry, since they view the interference as tacit support for the interests of management. “It’s a sad day for any federally regulated worker in Canada because this legislation says you do not have the right to strike, period,” said Dave Ritchie, vice president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, in a statement. “This will undermine free collective bargaining and poison labour relations across Canada.”

At least people will still be able to go on vacation.




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Politicians pass back-to-work legislation for Air Canada in the wee hours of the morning

  1. Why don’t they just do away with the right to strike, period? Or better yet, ban unions. It’s clearly what they want to do; they may as well be up front about it.

    • Doing away with the right to strike and doing away with unions is definatley a step in the right direction.

      • Most of the work benefits you currently enjoy are due to unions. You prefer serfdom?

        Unions often get carried away with their own power, but they are a necessary evil to counterbalance the “robber baron” mentality of many in the executive offices.

        And no, I myself am not a member of a union (though I have been in the distant past).

  2. I would like to know what the average wage is for baggage etc at Air Canada, that should relate to the same rate of pay for the same job somewhere else. Just because they are part of a union doesnt mean they can demand more money, just because. If they have the right to strike they should give up the privacy of their salary information. That way a better picture should be painted.

      • Thanks for the response. I guess my point is the pay should equal the work. There should be cap off for certain types of work plus inflation.

    • Why? They’re free to demand anything they want. Management is free to refuse, or even to fire all the union members if they’re willing to deal with the consequences laid out in agreements they’ve already signed.

      If people will not work for a private company at the rates which the private company needs to remain profitable, that company is not a good investment and should go under, opening up the space for other companies that work more efficiently.

  3. Congratulations to the Progressive Conservative government and Ms Raitt on their decision. Ballingall clearly shows his leftist bias by using the word “interfere” in the article. My preference would be the word “intervene.” A person should think in the terms of a “right to work” as opposed to a “right to strike.” It is the overpriced demands of the unions that is one of the largest drags on the economy both here in the US and in Canada.

  4. I’m not a fan of Conservatives but I totally agree with this wise decision.  Why should we suffer because of the conflit between an employer and the employees?  We also worked all year and planned our vacation for some time now.  We got a week of vacation that those employees were about to ruin.  They should sit and negociate instead of putting their problems on the shoulders of Canadians!

    • Don’t be ridiculous. Those workers aren’t putting their problems on the shoulders of Canadians, they’re trying to negotiate with their employer. If you don’t like the way this business threatens your vacation via their relations with their employees, book with another airline. This government has no valid or useful role in those negotiations.

      • Craig
        I left Canada a long time ago, but I thought that Air Canada was owned by the government. If that is the case then the government IS the employer and has every right to intervene and protect the rights of their shareholders (ie: taxpayers) The part that I don’t understand is: Why is the government even in the airline business? This is simply a holdover from the socialist days of old. If the gov’t can divest itself of the Wheat Board, it should be able to get out of the airline business.

        • Air Canada has been completely privatized since 1989.

        • You must have left a loooong time ago, because it’s been that long since Air Canada was owned by the government. 
          It’s great to see that you make sure you’re properly informed before you start dropping steaming loads of opinion all over the place.

          • until Air Canada can stand on its own without the governments help, (bailouts, competition) then the government can step in when it needs to.

          • It’s impossible to tell whether or not you’re joking. 
            After almost a quarter of a century of being on their own, when will AC ever be able to go it alone, especially if the government keeps intervening?
            So, there’s your suggestion, OR, as a group that supposedly believes in the market’s ability to solve most problems, Harper’s Government can have the courage of their convictions.

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