Air Canada Bargaining Committee News: Issue #4

Air Canada Bargaining Committee News: Issue #4

October 31, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Unifor ACBC Logo

Since our last bulletin, the Unifor Bargaining Committee has been working hard at resolving the following issues with the Company. Below is an update on some of the issues that have been raised.

Travel Policy for Leave of Absences of Greater than One Year  

The union has recently concluded a Memorandum of Settlement over a long-standing policy grievance regarding the travel policy for members on leave of absences in excess of 365 days in duration.  This affects members, including family members, on any type of leave including extended childcare leave, and sick and injured employees.  The final settlement removes the restriction on personal pass travel and permits unlimited travel for the member and their families.  

Members on sick or injury leave will still need to have a Fitness for Air Travel form filled out by their personal physician and submit it to Occupational Health Services (OHS) for approval.  Once approval is granted, it is valid for a 12-month period.  Certain medical conditions may require more frequent approval, and it will be incumbent on the member to advise of a change to their medical condition or any new condition that may impact their approval to travel.    

Intervenor Status Application on CUPE Grievance on B1 Travel

The arbitrator, Larry Steinberg’s award on the matter denied Unifor’s request for intervenor status.   
His decision was that CUPE’s case involves a very narrow issue—an alleged representation made by an employer official to a union official that higher priority passes would not be given to other employee groups, and whether the union relied on this representation to its detriment such that it is entitled to a remedy. His determination is that Unifor has nothing to add to the specific representation that may have been made to CUPE. 

The arbitrator determined that CUPE’s case is not about the employer’s general authority to award flight passes to its employees, rather the specific representation that CUPE alleges was made to one of their officials.  The arbitrator suggests that Unifor may proceed individually with its own grievance to have its merits determined. 

Concierge Customer Service Desk

Air Canada announced in the early fall of 2017, that the Concierge Customer Service Desk currently located at Toronto Pearson Airport will be permanently moving to the Toronto Contact Centre.  This new function will be an integral part of the Contact Centre, however, at this time it remains under the Concierge/Premium banner.  The tentative opening date at the Contact Centre is early spring 2018.

Pension Update – Hybrid Plan

Great news for everyone, our pension plan is doing very well and is still in a surplus. The pension committee had their annual pension meeting in October, Air Canada provided the committee with an update of the Hybrid pension plan which applies to approximately 2,000 members.

The company will be sending out documents in French and English in January 2018 for all the members who are in the Hybrid plan. The plan will provide a detailed breakdown for our members of their contributions in the Defined Contribution component, and what money is remaining on the table. Please see the below table for more details.
Years of continuous service Your contribution
to the DC component
Air Canada’s Matching contribution
Less than 2 years
1.5% or 2%
100 %
Between 2-5 years
1.5% or 2 %
Between 5-15 years
1.5%, 2% or 2.5%
Between 15-35 years
1.5%, 2%, 2.5% or 3%

There’s also a table that will show you how much money remains on the table when you contribute at the default rate of 1.5% rather than at the maximum contribution rate to which your years of continuous service entitles you. It shows the member how to change your contribution rate as well. 

For further information, feel free to contact Manulife at 1-855-855-0785 option 2 from Monday to Friday between 08:00 am-8:00 pm EST.

For our members in the Defined Benefit plan, a friendly reminder, there is a pension calculator that is located on the AC Portal under the HR Connex tab to project what your pensionable earnings will be once you retire.

Worldwide Contact Centre

A few years ago, Unifor and Air Canada came to an agreement that expanded the area that our Canadian Contact Centres would service.  The agreement came as a settlement to a policy grievance that had been filed when it was discovered that some Canadian originating calls were being answered in Tampa.  This was occurring when the caller used Skype or another call over internet technology that often belonged to the USA despite the fact that the caller was in Canada. It became nearly impossible to identify where some of the callers were located, and thus which country the calls should be directed to.  

The agreement protects the proportion of Contact Centre agents that are located in Canada versus the Tampa Contact Centre, so that, the Contact Centre in the United States is not able to grow at the expense of those agents located in Canada.  The initial agreement allowed calls originating in Canada or the United States to be serviced by the first available agent in either Canada or the Tampa Contact Centres.  

Following that agreement, Air Canada agreed to repatriate French calls that originated worldwide.  
These successful agreements have led to the further repatriation of calls. As a result of this agreement, on October 1st, 2017, Air Canada announced that they would be closing the Pune India Contact Centre and repatriating the work back to North America Contact Centres effective October 1st. 

Pune India Contact Centre was commonly referred to as London/Sydney Reservations, they also took English calls from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Vietnam while providing after-hours service and web support to 18 other countries. Our Canadian Contact Centres make us the only Canadian airline to offer more languages than English and French language services. Members offer assistance in Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean (from Toronto) to our customers calling from Canada and the USA and now worldwide.

In today’s environment, where outsourcing of jobs is the common practice, we are proud that we have been able to work with Air Canada to redirect international calls back to our North American Contact Centres.

Vacation Purchase Program/General Holiday Option

By now if you applied for VPP/GHO you should have received confirmation of your weeks or an email advising you that you were unsuccessful. Members in the Contact Centres and Customer Relations have been approved for one week of VPP.  Members at Airports who have a seniority year of 2009 or senior  have been approved for two weeks. Those who have the seniority year of 2010 or junior have been approved for one week. CJM has been approved for two weeks. All Leads and Concierge at airports will be approved for 2 weeks. This is the same format as last year. 

Vacation Reconciliation Article 14.11
The end of the year is nearing, and vacation entitlements will end on December 31, 2017. This is a reminder for all the members on what happens with all of your work schedules and vacation taken.
Your vacation entitlement is listed on Page 59 Article 14.02.01. We don’t want you to be surprised when the company advises you in February or March (whenever they do their vacation reconciliation) the potential that you may owe the company a few hours to several hours based on the shift schedule you were on when you took your vacation.

Here are some examples:

Example # 1: 
You have 3 years of seniority. You are entitled to 10 working days / and more importantly, 80 hours.
You are working an operational line or relief base that is a 4x4=11.25 hours. You cycle into your vacation and take 2 cycles off which would equal 16 days or 91 hours and 20 min. You’ll end up owing the company 11 hours and 20 minutes when they reconcile your vacation.

Example #2:
You have 7 years of seniority. You are entitled to 15 working days/ 120 hours.
You are working an operational line or relief base that is a 5x3=9.05 hours. You cycle into your vacation and take 3 cycles off which would equal 24 days or 136 hours and 15 minutes. You’ll end up owing the company 16 hours and 15 minutes when they reconcile your vacation.

If you know that you are going to owe the company vacation time, you can elect to end your vacation early, to ensure you don’t owe the company money when they reconcile your vacation. Alternatively, you can take all of your vacation so you are able to complete your calendar week of vacation. Article 14.02.01 Note 2. One very important note; is that you are not allowed to work on any vacation designated day. (Note 7).

Please keep in mind, if you know that you will be going off for a period of time i.e. Maternity leave, Leave of Absence (LOA), GDIP, etc. reminder that you will earn your holidays in the same year.

If you are entitled to 15days/120 hours and take all of your holidays in the first three months and then go on Maternity leave, you will end up owing the company extra hours when the year is reconciled. You are allowed to cancel your holidays if you know you are going to end up owing the company.

We ask that you please familiarize yourself with Article 14 and if you have any questions, please contact your local District Chairs.