Former Canadian Airlines pilots refuse Air Canada mediation on seniority
October 12, 2005
A large group of Air Canada pilots who formerly worked for Canadian Airlines said Wednesday they won't take part in a new mediation effort that their union and the airline have set up to resolve long-standing seniority issues.
The dispute, which has its origins in Air Canada's takeover of Canadian Airlines in 1999-2000, has split the membership of the Air Canada Pilot Association and is a barrier to Air Canada's plans to purchase new Boeing 777 and 787 jets.
The union leadership and airline announced Sept. 23 that Martin Teplitsky h+ad been hired to come up with possible amendments to the seniority list that dictates pilot assignments which, in turn, determine their pay and working conditions.
The main schism within the union is between former Canadian Airlines pilots, who generally rank high on the seniority list, and pilots who were working for Air Canada before the merger but whose ranking on the seniority list fell post-merger.
"Reopening the seniority issue is simply Air Canada responding to what amounts to blackmail by its former Air Canada pilots, who the company wants to appease so they will accept the acquisition of new Boeing 777/787's," Robert McInnis, who represents 1,200 former Canadian Airlines pilots, said in a release Wednesday.
"In 2003, Air Canada management, original Air Canada pilots and former Canadian Airlines pilots all agreed that the pilot seniority award of arbitrator Brian Keller would be 'final and binding.' "
McInnis said the Teplitsky mediation process shows a "troubling disrespect for the law" that his group expects will be rejected by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.
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