A collective sigh of relief for Air Canada travellers

The union representing 3,800 of Air Canada’s customer service and sales staff, the Canadian Auto Workers, has struck a tentative four-year deal with the company. CAW union president Ken Lewenza said the deal includes wage increases, addresses quality of life issues and retains a defined-benefit pension plan for current workers. However, Lewenza said the issue of what type of pensions new hires will receive — which had been a sticking point in negotiations — will go to arbitration. He also blasted the federal government for intervening with the labour dispute by introducing back-to-work legislation, calling the act unconstitutional. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said she was pleased with the way the process unfolded and offered congratulations to CAW and Air Canada for “putting the public interest first.” Workers are back on the job as of this morning.

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