Late Tuesday night, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)served strike notice to Air Canada. The IAMAW, which represents 8,600 ground crew and mechanics at Air Canada, has been disputing with Air Canada for the past year over contract and wage issues.
The strike could commence as soon as 12:01 a.m. Monday, the 12th, an inconvenient time due to March Break travel.
Two weeks ago, the IAMAW’s members rejected a revised contract set out by Air Canada that was tentatively approved by the union’s leadership. The Financial Post interviewed several union members during a demonstration and reported that the major source of anger for the union members was the perceived lack of respect as shown by measures such as giving chief executive Calin Rovinsecu a $5 million salary during a two-year wage freeze for other employees.
Air Canada remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached before the strike.
"The lines of communication remain open and we are hopeful that there remains sufficient time to avoid a work disruption," Duncan Dee, Air Canada's chief operating officer said in a statement.
Air Canada also assured spring break travellers that airline operations are running as usual at this time and that the company will do everything in its power to maintain full operations if the strike does occur.
Air Canada has good reason to feel hopeful as the federal government is in its corner against the union striking. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has been involved in this contract dispute for the past few months and today released a statement strongly encouraging both parties to settle their differences as soon as possible for the good of the Canadian economy.
"I encourage both parties to continue bargaining and reach a new collective agreement as soon as possible," Lisa Raitt said to Reuters. "The government is concerned that a strike is possible and is taking this situation very seriously.