January 27, 2023
Dear WestJet Aviation Tradesmen:
I am pleased to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) and Apprentices at WestJet Airlines. My name is Bret Oestreich, National President of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA). I have been in the aviation industry for 32 years and I am an FAA-licensed A&P Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT).
I want to personally thank you for what you do and recognize your impact on our profession. Your dedication to prioritizing safety every time you touch an aircraft makes you critical to the success of any aviation maintenance operation. The lives of our crew members and the flying public depend on your knowledge, skill, and integrity, as reflected by AMFA’s motto: “safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground.” While I respect the work that you perform day-to-day, it is my goal to demand increased recognition, from your employer and the general public, for your critical contribution to aviation safety.
As you are aware, AMFA’s footprint in Canada is expanding with you and your fellow employees at WestJet. It is important that you, as an aviation professional, hear directly from me so that you may get a sense of what AMFA is about. One of the primary reasons I accepted the position of National President in 2016 was that. AMFA is the only union that constitutionally limits itself to representing the craft and class of our skilled trade, thus avoiding conflicts of interest with other groups. I am proud to lead our trade-specific union and plant an AMFA flag in Canada, starting with L3 Harris MAS in 2022, while continuing our role as the leading voice of skilled aviation technicians in the United States.
Other labor organizations combine skilled technicians in a single bargaining unit that includes a majority of unskilled workers. The result is a system of governance that suppresses the wages, benefits, and collective voice of the AMEs. AMFA follows a different path. Our objectives are to raise the standards and increase the recognition of AME and related employees, and the AMFA Constitution is the catalyst for our members to control their destiny via the direct election of all local and national officers.
AMFA believes you have the right to choose, and you have made the right choice by seeking to be represented by an independent, craft-specific union. One Craft, One Union! Your WestJet group will be continuing as pioneers, promoting a single-craft union dedicated to aviation safety. We expect some resistance from management concerning this grassroots movement, but with your help and engagement, we are confident that your skills and collective voice will lead to success.
I ask that you actively engage in our movement across Canada so that AMEs will finally be given the international respect, recognition, and support that they deserve.