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Fast Facts on WestJet-AMFA unprecedented labour situation

By WestJet | | 6 min read
From tentative agreement to a strike – a timeline

Updated: June 29, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. MT

This July long weekend we are scheduled to fly more than 250,000 guests across the four-day period. AMFA’s decision to strike with the intent of disrupting travel over Canada Day long weekend is catastrophic, for our people, our guests and the communities and regions we serve. 

The push to force a strike during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to cause mass disruption, in light of the Minister of Labour’s order for final binding contract arbitration with AMFA.    

From tentative agreement to a strike – a timeline

  • May 5, WestJet and AMFA reach a tentative agreement; AMFA signs a contract to unanimously recommend the ratification of the tentative agreement to its members 
  • June 12, AMFA ratification results were announced with more than 97 per cent of its eligible members voting the tentative agreement down; given the virtually unanimous nature of this vote, we can only conclude that the union failed to act in good faith when presenting this agreement to members 
  • June 17, in an effort to avoid disruption to summer operations and recognizing a broken bargaining process, WestJet made a formal request that the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and Minister of Labour intervene under the Canada Labour Code and refer the parties to first contract arbitration for a collective agreement; this process would allow an unbiased third-party to issue a collective agreement that would be binding on both parties 
  • June 17, following WestJet’s submission to the CIRB, AMFA issued a strike notification 
  • June 19, AMFA made a commitment to the CIRB and to WestJet, that if WestJet agreed to bargain, it would agree to rescind its strike notification; after making submissions to the CIRB, the parties confirmed that they would schedule four days of bargaining for June 25 and 26, July 2 and July 3  
  • June 25, after less than one full day of bargaining, AMFA again issued a strike notice that would come into effect Friday, June 28, the start of the Canada Day long weekend 
  • June 26, WestJet begins cancelling flights in preparation for threat of strike 
  • June 27, the Minister of Labour directs the CIRB to assist WestJet in final binding first contract arbitration with AMFA 
  • June 28, AMFA commences strike despite Minister’s order for arbitration, WestJet cancels flights   

The rejected offer

Under the proposed agreement, WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers would have been the highest paid in the country, with a 12.5 per cent wage increase in the first year of the agreement, and a compounded wage increase of 23 per cent over the term of the agreement.  

In addition, the agreement would: 

  • Protect work-life balance standards that are already exceptional by industry comparators 
  • Enforce strong commitments to job security 
  • Attract highly skilled professionals to WestJet’s Technical Operations team, to ensure adequate resourcing well into the future 

Additional context

  • Using 2023 T4s as a source of truth, our AME’s make on average $109,000, with our top earners making between $150,000 and $170,000, approximately double the average annual salary in Canada 

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