Queen's University

Air Canada wildcat strike: Queen's University expert

2012-04-02

Queen’s University labour relations expert and former Air Canada executive George Smith is available to discuss today’s wildcat strike by Air Canada baggage handlers and grounds crews in Toronto.

Mr. Smith, a former Air Canada director of employee relations who negotiated multiple union contracts on behalf of the company, isn’t surprised by today’s news. He feels the government’s move to prevent union workers from striking gives them few options.

"Friday's wildcat strike and last weekend's job action by pilots has created a scenario for Air Canada and passengers that is worse than a one- or two-week strike – uncertainty. At any time over the next few weeks or months, planes maybe delayed or cancelled without notice because of disgruntled union employees who no longer have the legal right to strike. This has the potential to financially harm Air Canada as passengers book with Westjet and Porter to ensure they get to their destinations. The best way to prevent future disruptions is for the federal government to step aside and not interfere in the collective bargaining process of Air Canada management and union leaders. Allow the possible short-term pain of a strike in return for long-term labour stability,” says Mr. Smith, a fellow in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s.

Attention broadcasters: please note George Smith is based in Ottawa.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi (office: 613.533.6000 ext. 77513, michael.onesi@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (office:613-533-2877, Anne.Craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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