/R E P E A T -- Sunwing: tentative agreement for flight attendants/

Feb 16, 2013, 07:30 ET from Canadian Union of Public Employees (FTQ)

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The union representing 900 Sunwing flight attendants concluded a tentative agreement with the company this morning. The agreement will be submitted to members for a vote following a round of general meetings in March. If accepted, this will be the first collective agreement for Sunwing flight attendants, who voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in March 2012.

In early February, the union had raised the possibility of a strike at the end of March. With today's conclusion of a tentative agreement, that scenario has been avoided.

The union will not comment on the details of the agreement until the conclusion of the voting period towards the end of March.

"The union bargaining committee is very pleased to have reached a tentative agreement. We believe that we achieved our objective: the union's first collective agreement, which definitely will improve salaries and working conditions. Of course, the flight attendants will have the final say on what happens next," said Mark Brancelj, president of the union for Sunwing flight attendants, CUPE Local 4055.

"The talks were very productive during the negotiations between February 11 and 15. Both sides demonstrated a clear desire to reach an agreement. The support of the conciliator from the Canadian Ministry of Labour played a significant role," said Caroline Bédard, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representative for the file.

The union bargaining committee comprises representatives from each of the airline's six bases: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Negotiations for the first collective agreement began on September 12, 2012. At the company's request, a Ministry of Labour conciliator was appointed on January 2, and the first two days of conciliation were January 17 and 18.

CUPE is Canada's largest airline union. In addition to its Sunwing members, CUPE represents nearly 10,000 flight attendants at a number of carriers, including Air Canada, Air Transat, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet, First Air and Cathay Pacific, as well as ground agents at Porter Airlines in Ottawa.

CUPE is the largest union in Canada with 627,000 members working in health, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, urban and air transport, emergency services and communications.

SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (FTQ)