To Air Canada Shareholders

You will be aware that the Air Canada Pilots Association’s attempts to negotiate a new collective agreement have failed, resulting in the dispute being sent to an arbitration process imposed by the federal government.

At today’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders, this development may be portrayed as some sort of closure. As fellow shareholders in our airline, we believe you have the right to know that it is nothing of the sort. Instead, this failure confirms that our internal culture is and will remain under severe duress. A positive, mutually-beneficial relationship between the Executive Committee and the 3,000 professional pilots at Air Canada seems less and less likely. As a shareholder, you should be concerned about the implications for the future of our airline.

Historically, pilots have been the most dedicated group of employees at Air Canada. Time after time, pilots have demonstrated their willingness to accommodate the legitimate needs of our airline. Over the past decade, Air Canada pilots have made many sacrifices that have provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth of concessions in order to keep our airline flying.

Over 75 years, Air Canada pilots have provided our airline with an unmatched safety record, responsible management of our valuable assets, risk reduction and a boost to passenger confidence, thus enhancing both profitability and shareholder value. In return, all that we asked was the opportunity to negotiate an agreement that recognizes the value that we create by flying millions of passengers safely and reliably to their destinations every year.

For more than a year, every attempt to reach agreement at the bargaining table has been stymied. The lock-out of our pilots in March, after we had publicly pledged not to take strike action, was a cynical ploy apparently taken for the sole purpose of providing the federal government an entrée to legislate away our rights. In its testimony to the Senate, Air Canada’s Executive Committee itself acknowledged that this would have led to the loss of some $35 million per day.

Even more troubling is the hypocrisy evidenced in double-digit compensation increases  for the top executives while extolling austerity to employees, which is irreparably damaging both to the credibility of corporate leadership and to Air Canada’s corporate culture.

Any confidence that may have remained and any hope of positive cultural change at Air Canada have been destroyed. The dream of a true partnership, envisioned when employees gained the right to a Board representative through our 2009 negotiations, has died.

The Air Canada Pilots Association will vote its shares against all questions in the proxy circular for various reasons attributable to each. This does not bode well for the future of Air Canada. Successful airlines around the world have made partnerships with their pilots a fundamental ingredient of the formula for success. Those that haven’t simply aren’t successful.

We believe it is time that other shareholders in our airline start asking pointed questions about the decisions and actions taken by the current corporate leadership in our inexorable fall from an IPO price of $20 to a penny stock today. We believe it’s time for sweeping changes - change which must begin at the top.

 

Sincerely,

 

The 3,000 Professional Pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association

 

Contact:
Paul Howard
Director of Communications
Air Canada Pilots Association
905-678-9008 ext. 222
phoward@acpa.ca

Published on:Publié :
Jun 04, 201204 Jun 2012

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Media Release