October 17, 2023
On August 28, 2023, a senior WestJet manager summoned an AME into a meeting to question him concerning “numerous complaints” that had been received regarding the AME’s alleged hesitancy to accept certain assignments. The Company made no arrangement for union representation.
AMFA communicated to WestJet that the manager’s actions presented a potential violation of Section 94(1)(a) of the Canadian Labour Code, which prohibits interference with the formation or administration of a trade union, because the AME involved was a union organizer and continues to serve the AMEs as an AMFA representative.
The conflict was defused by the negotiation of the attached Interim Agreement Regarding Union Representation During Disciplinary Investigations that was executed by AMFA Region II Director Will Abbott and WestJet Senior Manager – Labour Relations Virginia Swindall on October 11, 2023.
As provided therein, WestJet management representatives now have an affirmative contractual obligation to advise AMEs of their right to the presence of a union representative at any meeting that may lead to discipline and any meeting where discipline is issued. The Interim Letter of Agreement (ILOA) also provides for the AME to be compensated in the event he/she is required to attend an investigative meeting during his/her off hours.
The vitality of contractual rights requires that they be consistently exercised. If you are summoned into a meeting with management, you have a right to ask whether the interview could lead to disciplinary action and, if the answer is yes, to demand union representation.
If, for any reason, your request for union representation is denied, proceed with the investigation process “under protest.” In the event your right to union representation is improperly denied, the denial may serve to invalidate any subsequent disciplinary action based on a violation of procedural due process.
Stay informed. Exercise your rights. And thank you for your support.
AMFA-WestJet Negotiating Committee