Hundreds of WestJet workers at Pearson Airport in Mississauga now have stronger voice


Published August 3, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Some 374 WestJet workers at Pearson Airport in Mississauga now have a stronger voice after winning a significant victory last week in their right to representation.

Last Friday (July 29), the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) certified Unifor as the sole bargaining agent for WestJet employees at Pearson after declaring that a majority of the workers had signed membership cards.

Unifor had applied to the CIRB on July 11 seeking to certify itself as the union for the Pearson Airport workers.

Calgary-based WestJet is Canada’s second-largest airline, behind only Air Canada.

Unifor secretary-treasurer Lana Payne said Pearson WestJet workers “…have gained a voice in their workplace, joining with workers in Vancouver and Calgary as members of Unifor. These employees have tremendous experience to offer their employer as airlines face an increase in travel demand from pre-pandemic travel demand.”

Payne added: “It is imperative that workers have a strong voice in future decisions at WestJet to ensure fairness and job protection with the airline.”

WestJet customer service agent Michelle Lindo-Collins called the move “…an important step in creating more stability, predictability and protection. I’m happy that collectively we have found our voice as we move toward fairness with fair treatment for ourselves, our co-workers and our families.”

As air travel numbers continue to rebound significantly since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this year, airline workers at Pearson–with WestJet and other carriers–have often faced increased pressures as frontline representatives with the public when things go wrong.

Delayed and cancelled flights, lengthy wait times, lost luggage and other issues have often led to angry travellers taking out their frustrations on frontline workers with the airlines.

“Our collective efforts to sustain the day-to-day operation and hold onto what WestJet represents have weighed on us all through these difficult times,” said WestJet customer service agent Keaton Cole. 

Wesley Watson, a customer service agent in the baggage department, said he’s happy to join his colleagues in Calgary and Vancouver under the Unifor umbrella.

“United together, we look forward to growing WestJet while providing good jobs and benefits to employees who provide exceptional daily service,” he said.

Unifor also represents 7,500 airport agents at other airlines including Air Canada, Jazz, Porter, First Air, Calm Air and more. In all, Unifor represents more than 16,000 workers across the airline industry.

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