Air North flight attendants unionize

Air North's flight attendants have formed a union. This is the first time that any group of Air North employees has unionized. The flight attendants approached the Yukon Employees' Union in December.

Air North’s flight attendants have formed a union.

This is the first time that any group of Air North employees has unionized.

The flight attendants approached the Yukon Employees’ Union in December. Their application to the Canadian Industrial Labour board was approved this week.

The union represents 33 flight attendants at last count, said YEU president Steve Geick.

Now, the flight attendants are collecting input from all the union members on what they would like to see as part of their first collective agreement. A bargaining committee has been struck to facilitate this process, said Geick.

The union already served Air North notice of their intention to bargain. And a federal negotiator has been assigned to the case, said Geick.

The next step will be for negotiators on both sides to sit down and work out a deal.

“We would like to see that happen as soon as possible, and we’re very excited to welcome them aboard,” said Geick.

More details will come out regarding what the flight attendants hope to get out of this once negotiations have begun, said Geick.

The initial application to unionize came as a surprise to Air North, said Joe Sparling, president of the company.

But it won’t change how they do business much, he said.

“It’s a bit of a new process for us. We’re certainly approaching it with an open mind. At the end of the day, the employer and the employees need to reach agreement with respect to compensation and working conditions, and that has always been the situation.

“The only thing that has changed is that there’s a facilitator or a third-party representative for the employees. I don’t see things really being significantly different from the way they are now or have been in the past.”

Sparling said he’s not worried that the unionization of the flight attendants will affect the company’s bottom line.

“It’s in the interest of all of the employees that we remain competitive. If we don’t remain competitive, then nobody has jobs. I know our flight attendants understand that completely. They’re a great group of people and first-line customer contact people, and I don’t see any huge challenges or difficulties on the horizon with respect to this.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com