Letter to MP Lisa Raitt, from Chuck Atkinson, District 140 President

October 12, 2011

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Labour
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Raitt:

My name is Chuck Atkinson. I am the President and Directing General Chairperson for Transportation District 140 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).

I feel compelled to write to you regarding your latest decision to directly interfere in the collective bargaining process between CUPE and Air Canada.

The IAMAW finds that the actions that you are now taking are totally unacceptable. We consider them a fundamental attack on the democratic rights of all working people in this country.

We also find it particularly offensive that you have chosen to refer the issue to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. It is clear that you are looking for ways to stall the process until such time as Parliament resumes and you can pass your anti-worker legislation ordering the flight attendants back to work―even before they are off the job in a legal strike position.

One wonders whether the same would have been done had the shoe been on the other foot and the workers had been locked out by the employer?

The members of CUPE, like the members of the IAMAW and all other unionized workers at Air Canada, have made huge sacrifices in the last decade to make sure that Air Canada continues to fly. While the cost of living has continued to climb, these workers have not had a raise.

Their reward for doing so has been to watch the carpet-bagging fat cats at the top of the airline abscond with millions of dollars in their pockets, leaving nothing for the people who have carried this company on their backs for so long.

It is apparent that the Harper regime is going to use its majority to run roughshod over Labour in this country. The continued erosion of the collective bargaining rights of all unions, whether public or private, can only result in worsening the relationship between employers and unions.

It should come as no surprise then when organized labour pushes back!


Chuck Atkinson
President and Directing General Chairperson
Transportation District 140


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