With the expiration of a ten-year contract framework, Air Canada pilots will be able to engage in “full bargaining this summer,” their union leadership announced in a note to members obtained by RushHourDaily on Monday.
Air Canada pilots have previously stated that they are pushing for “historic” pay increases in order to close the pay gap with their counterparts in the United States.
WestJet Airlines, a subsidiary of Onex Corp, has tentatively agreed with its employees to a 24% increase in hourly pay over four years, in addition to other compensation and benefits.
Since reaching an agreement in 2014, the approximately 4,500 pilots at Canada’s largest airline have received 2% annual wage increases.
The union missed the deadline on Monday to activate a “get out of jail free” clause, which would have allowed for negotiations to take place this year. This Agreement is in full force and effect until September 29, 2023.
The letter stated that “we were willing to meet with the company if they wanted to provide us with a substantial proposal that would further the goals of our membership.” Unfortunately, Air Canada did not make the first contact.
A group of Air Canada pilots joined the Air Line Pilots Association this month, and they stated in a separate document that they expect to receive a notice to bargain in early June.
“Our pilots may elect to use the option that was available to them to initiate bargaining for a new collective agreement,” Montreal-based Air Canada said in an email statement.
“The fact that we’ve been able to maintain this agreement with our pilots for nine years speaks volumes about the quality of our working relationship with them.”
Recent wage increases for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines pilots totaling 34% over four years are encouraging for pilots in the United States.
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