Many service sector contracts to expire this year

Air Canada and Canada Post will be at the table in 2009

Last week CLV Reports highlighted the manufacturing and utility collective agreements that will expire in 2009 and offered suggestions as to what the negotiating environment would be in the coming year. This week we will do the same for transportation and services collective agreements.


Transportation: This is the year Air Canada will see all its collective agreements expire. They were settled by binding arbitration beginning when the company was under creditor protection, and the unions are not happy with either the results of that process or some of the company’s actions since then. The agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), representing 6,430 customer service employees, comes up in May; the one with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), covering 6,000 flight attendants, comes up in June; and those with the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), with 3,100 pilots, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), with 13,040 ground crew, in July.


In addition, Jazz Air will be negotiating with its four unions, covering 2,780 employees, in June.


While the prospects for airlines are better than they were when they were burdened with fuel surcharges, several international carriers have recently gone under, and the sector is not yet out of the woods.


Seventeen hundred employees of Penauille Servisair in Ontario and B.C. will have their contracts expire in 2009. And, two Nav Canada contracts will be up for bargaining in March and August for a total of 3,000 employees.


Finally, the collective agreement for Canada Post’s 11,640 letter carriers and sorters will expire at the end of the year.


Services: As regards hospitality agreements, 2009 will be a quieter year. The large expiries will be in British Columbia where Coast Hotels will be coming up in April and Hospitality Industrial Relations in May for a total of about 3,000 employees. Cara Operations Ltd. is also in negotiations for 1,100 employees at its restaurants in Ontario under a contract that expired in January.


With the recession, both tourism and business travel are probably facing a difficult year. The Quebec hotel agreements negotiated last year came in before the downturn. This year may prove to be more challenging.


Several large retail agreements will be in negotiation in 2009, starting with No Frills in Ontario in January, Safeway in Manitoba in March, Westfair in B.C. in July, A&P in Ontario in September and the Calgary Co-op in October. They cover a total of nearly 22,000 employees.


Supermarket negotiations in 2008 in B.C. (Overwaitea and Safeway), Alberta (Safeway), Saskatchewan (Westfair), Manitoba (Westfair) and Ontario (New Dominion and Food Basics) all ended without strikes, though Maxi in Quebec did not.


The Société des Alcohols du Québec, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the Manitoba Liquor Commission see their contracts expire in March. Quebec service stations and Finning in B.C. will also come up for negotiation.


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