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Jul 10, 2018

CUPE files application to represent WestJet flight attendants

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CALGARY -- The Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed an application at the Canada Industrial Relations Board to represent flight attendants at WestJet.

The union said Tuesday a majority of WestJet flight attendants have signed cards supporting unionization with CUPE, including WestJet's mainline carrier and low-cost carrier Swoop.

"We're hopeful that this is just the first of many victories ahead for WestJet cabin crew, as we work together to improve working conditions for inflight staff," CUPE national president Mark Hancock said in a statement.

The move by CUPE to unionize the flight attendants follows the unionization of the airline's pilots who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.

A threat of a strike by the pilots was averted earlier this year when the airline and union agreed to a settlement process and, if necessary, to use final and binding arbitration.

WestJet said it respects the rights of its employees to choose their representation.

"Although we prefer to work directly with our employee groups as we have since 1996, we are dedicated to moving forward and will concentrate on the continued success of the organization for guests, employees and shareholders," airline chief executive Ed Sims said in a statement.

CUPE said it represents 12,000 flight attendants at 10 different airlines including Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing.