Calgary, AB — A group of Air Canada’s aircraft maintenance workers plan to break away from the airline’s biggest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
They would join the Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Association (CAMA) and seek recognition as the sole bargaining agent for the airline’s airplane maintenance employees. In total they number 1,600, about 13% of the total membership in the machinist’s union.
CAMA filed for certification by the Canada Industrial Relations Board as a union after it received support from more than half of the aircraft maintenance workers employed by Air Canada’s Line Maintenance Unit. The move would make CAMA the sixth union that represents workers at Montreal-based Air Canada.
The airline has been operating under the bankruptcy protection since last year.
According to Ken Hickerson, national director of CAMA, the association was created two years ago as a focused group that would better represent the maintenance workers, and only them.
“Our members feel a new, independent union would better represent their interests,” said Hickerson. “Aircraft maintenance workers are true aviation professionals and they play a much larger role in air travel safety than most people realize.
“It’s about time Air Canada, the airline industry and the public provided our members the recognition they deserve, and that’s one goal we hope to accomplish with the creation of this new trade union,” he said.