After an anxiety-fuelled May for avid airline flyers, which observed WestJet pilots moving toward a potential strike, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) announced on Monday that the arbitrator had made progress in mediation.
ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and has been representing WestJet pilots during their recent mediations with WestJet Airlines and have added Swoop pilots to their list.
ALPA stated in a release that the arbitrator had addressed the issue of job security felt by WestJet pilots during bargaining, with an interim award issued last week.
Swoop airlines pilots also recently joined WestJet pilots under the wing of the ALPA, which will be operating under one banner after the two groups agreed that WestJet and Swoop are common employers.
ALPA will be the recognized pilot union and the exclusive bargaining agent for pilots of both parties - who will be on the airline’s one seniority list.
One of the several rulings introduced by the interim award is the piloting of Swoop planes by WestJet pilots, an action that will resolve labour issues and job security, says Captain Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council.
“Our company can no longer outsource our work to Swoop and, going forward, WestJet pilots will fly those planes,” said McFadyen.
“Our goal remains to attain an industry-standard collective agreement that addresses our pilots’ total compensation and working conditions while bringing stability to the airline.”
The two parties also agreed that a bargaining unit, encompassing pilots employed by both WestJet and Swoop, is appropriate for bargaining.
WestJet and ALPA have also motioned to include Swoop flying to the bargaining certificate by submitting a joint application to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).
More mediation and arbitration dates have been scheduled over the summer months to continue their discussion and attend to all remaining issues.
There should be no disruption in airline service for either airline as they are currently involved in binding arbitration to resolve contract issues.