OTTAWA – One of the industries hit especially hard by coronavirus is the transportation sector. From major airlines down to floatplane operations for tourist outfitters, this sector has been hit hard. So too has passenger train service and intercity bus companies.
Getting going again in many cases is taking help from the federal government.
Unifor leadership representing air transportation workers met with federal Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau and representatives from his office today via videoconference to discuss the importance of ensuring the airline industry is able to weather the storm until Canada is able to return to successful travel and tourism after COVID-19.
“Unifor is a union for air transportation workers. Keeping the industry healthy is a priority during this unprecedented crisis,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Governments must listen to the voices of airline workers, remain vigilant and continue relying on science-based health and safety guidelines as a roadmap to economic recovery.”
Unifor members presented Garneau with a policy paper containing several recommendations to preserve and support the industry where travel restrictions remain in place and lift travel restrictions where it is safe to do so. Unifor is recommending the development of a national aviation plan, an industry-specific corporate support package, adjustments to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and a national plan for a return to travel that prioritizes health and safety protocols.
Unifor works with many employers in the travel and tourism industry including hotels, airlines, and airports to implement health and safety protocols that will increase the safety of workers and the travelling public. These protocols include: ensuring workers have access to appropriate PPE, enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures, appropriate social and physical distancing measures, the development of a pandemic response plan, and much more.
Unifor leadership on the call included National President Jerry Dias, Local 2002 president Euila Leonard, Sunwing Pilots Local 7378 president Barret Arman, Air Traffic Controllers Local 5454 executive vice president Doug Best, Air Traffic Specialists Local 2245 president Elizabeth O’Hurley, and Local 2002 Bargaining Committee chair Frances Galambosy,
Unifor represents more than 16,500 workers in the Canadian air transportation sector, including pilots, customer service representatives, air traffic controllers, flight service specialists, aircraft mechanics, airport workers, and flight attendants.