GVP Pickthall’s letter to Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada

GVP Pickthall's letter to Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada

March 31, 2020

Air Canada
7373 Côte Vertu West St. Laurent, QC H4S 1Z3

Attention: Calin Rovinescu, Chief Executive Officer
Sent by email

Dear Mr. Rovinescu:

I am the General Vice President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, representing some 50,000 IAM members across the country, many thousands of whom are employees of Air Canada. I am writing to urge you to take advantage of the newly announced Federal Wage Subsidy Program, which is now available to all businesses, regardless of size.

On the weekend, the IAM had the opportunity to speak with Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Transportation Minister Marc Garneau. I emphasized the importance of preserving the aviation industry as an integral part of Canada’s infrastructure, and Air Canada’s position as a key player in that role. Our members keep you flying, and we are shocked and dismayed to see so many of them placed on layoff and off-duty status over the past few weeks.

As you are no doubt aware, we presently have some 6,000 IAM members that work for Air Canada who are either laid off or placed on off-duty status. These are employees who work in every division of your Company. Most of them have financial and other family-supporting obligations that will frankly not be met by applying for employment insurance or other emergency benefits. Tomorrow is April 1st, and rent and mortgage payments are coming due, as well as many other monthly expenses.

I find myself encouraged by the latest announcement from the Federal government, which will provide a 75 percent Federal Wage Subsidy up to $847 per employee per week. This amount is now made available to employers regardless of size, and is backdated to March 15. In my view this an excellent opportunity for Air Canada to get its employees and our members back to work. Getting your employees back on the payroll will ensure that the most crucial part of your corporate infrastructure – a skilled and experienced workforce at every level of the company – is kept in place. I urge you not to delay, but to act immediately.

Now is the time for Air Canada to step up and protect its most valuable assets – your employees. I look forward to hearing from you, to discuss how we get them back to work as soon as possible.

Yours truly,

Stan Pickthall
General Vice President
IAM Canada

Fred Hospes, President –District 140
Keith Aiken, IAM Transportation Coordinator Air Canada General Chairpersons – District 140