Voting results expected today to determine whether WestJet pilots will unionize

CALGARY – The results of a two-week vote on whether WestJet pilots will form the company’s first union are expected today.

The airline’s roughly 1,300 pilots have been voting by secret ballot on whether to recognize the WestJet Professional Pilots Association as their official bargaining unit.

WestJet has been growing in recent years, opening new offices in Toronto and Vancouver while expanding its routes, including its first trans-Atlantic flights last year.

The association says it’s time the company’s pilots are represented through a certified union as WestJet grows.

WestJet has said it believes the fact that it has a non-union workforce gives it a competitive advantage, adding that collective bargaining could lead to service disruptions and increased labour costs.

Last week, WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky said he doesn’t believe the company’s relationship with its workers will change, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

The airline says it will respond after the results are known today.

The Canadian Industrial Relations Board has been running the vote but says it will not be able to release official results until its board approves them. There is no indication when that could be.

To trigger the vote, the WestJet Professional Pilots Association had to show more than 40 per cent of pilots supported the association through membership cards.

The WestJet Professional Flight Attendants Association is working to reach the 40 per cent membership threshold to launch a vote on whether flight attendants can unionize.


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