OTTAWA — Flight attendants on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border are standing in solidarity over safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max.
The unions representing flight attendants at Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet are showing their support for their American counterparts, who last week expressed their concerns about the troubled aircraft. In a letter dated Oct. 30, American Airlines’ flight attendants union, which represents 28,000 employees, said they are refusing to “walk onto a plane that may not be safe and are calling for the highest possible safety standards to avoid another tragedy.”
The Air Canada Component of CUPE (Air Canada Mainline and Air Canada Rouge), CUPE local 4055 (Sunwing), and CUPE local 4070 (WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop) are calling on Transport Canada to take its responsibility in ensuring the safety of these aircraft.
In an official statement, CUPE said: “The safety of passengers and crew must always come first. The federal government’s decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max in Canada was the right thing to do. Given the record of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration in that file, it will now be up to Transport Canada to provide assurances that these aircraft are fully compliant and safe for union members and the travelling public.”
Like the U.S. flight attendant unions, CUPE must be consulted before Transport Canada makes the decision to allow the Max to fly in Canada again.
“We need access to all the information required to assess the safety of these aircraft,” said CUPE. “The highest possible safety standards will be called for to avoid another tragedy. Simply stating these aircraft are safe does not make it so.”
Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet are the three Canadian airlines operating the Boeing 737 Max. CUPE represents more than 13,000 flight attendants across all three airlines.