TORONTO—Unifor welcomes the federal government’s tentative approval of Canada Emergency Wage Supplement (CEWS) funds for Jazz Aviation to maintain its workforce levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Airline workers will be the backbone of the industry’s economic recovery in a post-pandemic world,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It makes perfect sense to help cushion the impact of the temporary downturn with federal emergency funding.”
On April 8, 2020 Air Canada announced it would use CEWS funding to top up the wages of more than 3,000 workers on lay-off due to COVID-19.
Jazz, a regional Air Canada partner airline, recently announced it was putting nearly 1,300 Unifor members in airports division, aircraft maintenance divisions, and crew schedulers on Off Duty Status. Today, Jazz says it plans to access the CEWS to recall all employees on voluntary or involuntary layoff. Today’s announcement by the company is still subject to passing of the government emergency legislation. The company will allow employees to stay at home while receiving 75 per cent of their wages to a maximum of $847 weekly.
“Airline workers are one of the thousands of Canadian front-line workers in the global effort to contain the virus,” said Euila Leonard, President of Unifor Local 2002. “Although there are still details to be ironed out with the program, signing off on the deal was the right thing to do for our members. Jazz’s commitment to work with Unifor is a recognition of the role our members play in making the company a successful regional carrier.”
On March 28, 2020, Unifor joined with other Canadian airline unions in sharing concerns and providing solutions to help the industry return to economic health and prosperity. Unifor has called on the government that any financial aid package delivered to any industry, including air travel must be accompanied by strong, enforceable conditions that ensure financial aid is tied to maintaining income for current employees and creating employment.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.
For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype or FaceTime interview with Jerry Dias please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).