History of Canadian Airways 764
In the Beginning
Bush pilot companies and James Richardson, Grain Dealer Winnipeg 1926
Early Air Transport in Canada
The role of the CPR and CNR Railroads
Canadian Airways Limited 1930
Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) 1937
Canadian Airways Lodge 764, IAMAW chartered in 1941 in Winnipeg
By 1935, Bush pilot companies were opening up the Canadian North James Richardson, a wealthy grain dealer in Winnipeg, began buying up small bush companies.
Under Canadian Government Policy, Transport in Canada had both a free enterprise and a Governmental component. It was called the – two of everything policy. The free enterprisers were opening up the North and vast expanses of Canada. The Federal Government was looking to Air Transport to bind the country together.
Junkers JU52 Canadian Airways CF-ARM
Free enterprise capital for Air Transport was provided by the Canadian Pacific Corporation, who funded their airline acquisition efforts through an arm of the Canadian Pacific (CPR) Railroad.
James Richardson was able to tap into that funding and his bush pilot companies he brought together became known as Canadian AirWays Limited. In 1941-42, the CPR bought his company and ten other small bush airlines to form Canadian Pacific Airlines.
In the same manner, the Government of Canada created Trans-Canada Airlines as an arm of the Canadian National (CNR) Railroad. With the Canadian Pacific Board of Directors British-dominated, the Government wanted TCA to be free of British influence and domination. The Canadian Government would not allow direct competition on the same route by CPA and TCA.
TCA’s first major route was Montreal-London with modified Lancaster Bombers opened July 22, 1943.
Original Vancouver (Old)International Airport Sculpture from 1950-1968 Donated by the Metalworkers Union, stored after 1968 and refurbished 2003 Now at the foot of the Cambie Street Bridge, Vancouver B.C.
The Machinist Union, already present in both railroads, moved quickly to unionize the mechanics and ground workers employed by the two airlines in Canada.
Canadian Airways based in Winnipeg, was unionized in 1941, and a charter granted to Local Lodge 764 to represent these members. The Governmental effort Trans-Canada Airlines was also quickly unionized, and represented in the East by Local Lodge 1751, and in the West by Local Lodge 714.
As the free enterprise (CPR) and governmental (CNR) arms of air transport grew, so too did the representation by the Machinists Union across Canada for mechanics, ground workers, storemen, and some administrative personnel.
Photo of CPA Hangar Boeing Plant side…
The Boeing Aircraft Company established a factory/hangar on Sea Island in 1939 to manufacture amphibious aircraft for the WWII effort. These aircraft became known as “Cansos” in Canada.
When WWII ended, the Boeing Company wound down its aircraft production on Sea Island, and the hangar, and its administration buildings were purchased by Canadian Pacific Ltd. This became the new home of CPA in 1951 when then-president Grant McConachie moved the airline from Winnipeg to Vancouver.
This building later became the main base for Pacific Western Airlines (PWA), and the hangar doors were modified to accept larger aircraft in the hangar, but with the tail sections protruding outside. Note the middle section hangar doors with the modification.
This area is slated for redevelopment by YVRAA once the new BCIT Campus Building is completed in 2006 on Russ Baker Way.
Local Lodge 764
- Represented employees in Canadian Airways, which became part of Canadian Pacific Airlines, and later Canadian Airlines International(CAIL)
- Originally located in Winnipeg, Canada, then moved to Vancouver with CPA Headquarters in1951 (Grant McConachie)
- Lodge jurisdiction covered all of Canada from coast to coast
Local Lodge 764 is today actually four (4) Local Lodges – Local Lodge 764, the original chartered Lodge founded at Winnipeg in 1941, a merger with Local Lodge 1500 (PWA) in 1988, a merger with Local Lodge 2324 (Air Canada in B.C.) in 2002, and a merger with Local Lodge 2749 (former CAIL clerical employees) in 2006.
Local Lodge 764 grew in jurisdiction as a result of the corporate merger or takeovers by Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPA). CPA was bought by Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) in 1987.
The merged company was renamed Canadian Airlines International (CAIL). The new company (CAIL) would soon include Wardair, Eastern Provincial Airlines (EPA), Nordair, TransAir, and regional carriers Air Inter (renamed Inter-Canadian) and TimeAir.
Local Lodge 764 had jurisdiction for Line Stations in the Canadian Pacific Airlines operation in Canada from Whitehorse through to Halifax. With the explosive growth of the airline in the 1980’s, separate Local Lodges were created in Alberta (LL1681), Manitoba (LL2223), Ontario (LL2734) and the Maritimes (LL1763).
All of these Local Lodges banded together nationally under District Lodge 721 (DL721) in 1987, and DL721 was merged with District Lodge 148 (Air Canada) to form District Lodge 140 in 1999. Local Lodge 764, with the Maintenance Base for CAIL at Vancouver, became the third largest Local Lodge by membership size within the new District.
CERTIFICATIONS to Local Lodge 764, as it followed the expansion of Canadian Pacific Airlines across Canada
1944 – Canadian Airways in B.C.
1948 – Canadian Pacific Airlines
1952 – CPA Operations in Calgary
1967 – CPA employees in Montreal
1968 – CPA Printing Department Vancouver
1971 – Commissary employees YYZ & YUL
1971 – CPA Security Patrolmen CERTIFICATIONS
1974 – United Airlines employees at Vancouver
1975 – Canadian Aircraft Products Vancouver
1977 – Image Apparel Uniform Rental Vancouver
1977 – Harrison Airways employees Vancouver
1979 – Chateau Flight Kitchen employees YVR
1979 – Corporate Accounting and Data employees
1980 – CPA Office and Clerical Workers Toronto
1985 – Flight Kitchen employees Toronto
1998 – MTU Vancouver
Collective Agreements over the years between Local Lodge 764 and Canadian Pacific Airlines
Collective Agreements between Trans-Canada Airlines and Local Lodge 1751 Montreal and Local Lodge 714 Winnipeg until 1968
Collective Agreements between Local Lodge 764 and United Airlines
- Airline growth in Canada after WWII
- Piston driven aircraft technology (the North Star/Canadair4 and DC6-B)
- Turbine driven aircraft technology (the Britannia also known as the whispering giant, the Viscount and Vanguard
- Air traffic rights and CPA/TCA battles for Asian and European access
New immigration to Canada was filling the landscape and air travel across this vast nation was the preferred method of transport. Travel by train coast to coast took as long as seven (7) days, and longer, in the challenging winter months. TCA expanded throughout Canada and to Europe, and CPA expanded to the Far East, Mexico and South America.
The two major airlines in Canada – Canadian Pacific and Trans-Canada Airlines – often chose different aircraft to compete. Canadian Pacific used the Douglas DC6-B to compete against TCA’s North Star (Canada’s version of the DC4) and the Lockheed Super Constellation. The turbine era saw Canadian Pacific adopt the Bristol Brittania (called by many the Whispering Giant) in competition to TCA’s Vickers Viscounts and Vanguards.
Both airlines would hound the Federal Government for operating and capacity rights. Asia and South America, with limited entry rights to Europe (Amsterdam and Rome), and the United States (California) while TCA got rights to most of Europe, the United States and the Caribbean. Traffic and capacity rights within Canada, and new routes, were strictly controlled by the Federal Government. Air Transport in Canada was highly regulated until the 1990’s.
Front CPA Hangar
CPA Hangar Admin Bldg01
In 1958, when CPA purchased the turboprop Britannias, they required a bigger hangar space and constructed a domed structure opposite the Boeing plant. This building, In 1958, when CPA purchased the turboprop Britannias, they required a bigger hangar space and constructed a domed structure opposite the Boeing plant. This building, and the administration buildings behind it, were to serve as CPA Headquarters until their move to a new Operations Center and Hangar on the north side of the Airport in 1970.
The old facilities were acquired by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) for their Aerospace Training Programs. Local Lodge 764 maintains contact with BCIT through the Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Council (CAMC) and our current CAMC liaison, Brother Gary Mondoux. These facilities are also slated for redevelopment once the new BCIT Campus is complete on Russ Baker Way in 2006. own as the North Star I TCA) with Merlin engines. CPA had them for only a limited time, then traded them in for the more modern, quieter DC6-B.
Minutes of meeting at the headquarters level (UMHQ) between the IAMAW and TCA(later Air Canada)from June 21, 1949 to Sept. 1965 (very poor shop committee copy rescued from the LL2324 refuse pile)
Meetings were held quarterly and the published (mimeographed) minutes became – understandings – between the union and the company on language or interpretations not made clear in the collective agreement in force at the time.
- Jet turbine age
- Introduction of the DC8-43/53/63, B727, B737 and B747
- Rapid growth in air traffic in Canada leads to both CPA and TCA placing orders for wide-bodied transports, leading to further growth in the work force and more technological change
Both CPA and TCA experienced tremendous growth in the 1960’s, and also had to deal with huge technological change. The piston driven and turbine aircraft gave way to the jet turbine, and both airlines invested heavily in McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing products. Both airlines had DC8’s in various models for long haul flights. For short haul work, CPA chose the B737 while TCA chose the DC9.
TThe rapid growth in air travel prompts the two airlines to order wide-bodied aircrtaft for delivery in the 1970’s. CPA orders the B747 and the DC10. TCA orders the B747 and the Lockheed L1011. Local Lodge 764 membership ranks mushroom as these larger aircraft require more ground personnel, equipment and maintenance.
The City of Vancouver sold their interest in the Vancouver Airport to the MOT in 1960 and received $2.5M for the sale.
- Rapid expansion of air travel and fleet additions with B727/B737
- Huge hiringsby the airlines
- Strike against CPAir 1973
- Lodge Office fire destroys early records
- Local Lodge 764 grows to 4000 members
- Technological change
Photograph of the Executive Board of LL764 from 197??? Left to right, front row: Ian Tiplady, Bob McLean, Ron Keras, Harold Thayer, GLR, Vic O’Regan Left to right, rear: Ralph Steeves, unknown, Norm Francis, Ian McDonald, Bill Farrell
STRIKE AGAINST CP AIR IN 1973
For 31 years, the Union and the Company (first Canadian Airways, and later Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPAir), had been able to negotiate collective agreements without resorting to industrial action.
In 1973, industrial action became necessary. This was a time of significant technological change for the airline industry in general, and airline work in particular. Older propeller driven aircraft were being retired, and replaced with jet turbine aircraft like the Douglas DC8 and the Boeing 727, 737 and 747. New workplace issues were present on Negotiations Agendas as these aircraft were introduced. In addition, the charismatic President of CPA, Grant McConachie had passed away, and J.C. Gilmer had became head of the airline.
In 1973 Local Lodge 764 represented 1358 Maintenance, Stores and Customer Service employees at CPAir. Negotiations for a new collective agreement began in early 1973 and concluded in May (Agreement No. 20)
Agreement No. 20 focused on wage increases for workers who would be repairing and servicing new aircraft types, new language for trades and categories affected by new aircraft introduction, improvements to the CPAir Pension Plan, the removal of job assignment and pass privilege discrimination against female workers, the intrusion by parent company Canadian Pacific Limited into the labour relations processes of the airline, health and safety concerns for employees engaged in non-destructive testing, and protection for employees at airports in the event of violence or terrorism.
NOTICE TO AIR TRAVELLERS
These notices were published in major Canadian newspapers and were part of the Union’s efforts to present their side of the dispute to the traveling Canadian public. Source: Vancouver Province, production proof dated Aug. 15, 1973
On May 24, 1973 the Union and CPAir Management reached agreement on many of the issues listed above and shook hands on a package with a 19.6% increase. The parent company CPR stepped in and directed CPAir management that they could only offer an 18.25% increase. The Union was outraged by this intrusion, and unable to get CPAir to honour its handshake, struck the company on July 25. The strike was to last eight weeks.
On July 26, Edward Hill, a member of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks (BRASC), who were honouring the Machinists picket line at the CPAir Vancouver Base, was struck by a car and rushed to Vancouver General Hospital. Hill died 13 days later.
On June 29, 1973 in response to an article published by Vancouver Sun columnist Allan Fotheringham, General Chairperson A.C. (Tony) Steele wrote the columnist a letter clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the machinists in the IAMAW, with reasons for the wage demands. Mr. Fotheringham replied on July 03, conceding…from what you detail here, they (the wage demands) certainly seem justified.
Sources: letters and newspaper clippings on file, LL764 Archives Sept. 1973
The Company attempted to maintain services, focusing on the lucrative long-haul services to Asia and Europe. Aircraft repair work was farmed out to World Air Center in Oakland, California but proved costly. Overhaul work done for other airlines at the CPAir Operations Center at Vancouver came to a halt, with the Company losing $1 million in revenue. The Company also violated its licensing rules during the strike, operating origin and terminating flights to and from Toronto instead of Montreal. Striking members had been able to find work elsewhere, and morale on the picket line was high, wrote J.R. McMillan, Public Relations Officer for LL764 in a September 11, 1973 bulletin to the membership.
Agreement No. 20 was finally signed by the Company on October 18, 1973.
OPEC oil crisis 1979
Airline consolidation in North America PWA buys CPAir in 1987
Layoffs and recession
replacement with B737-200/300 and DC10-30’s
Purchase of Eastern Provincial Airlines (EPA) and Nordair(ND)
B747’s sold in 1985 for DC10-30’s
CP Air is purchased by Pacific Western Airlines in December 1986
The OPEC oil crisis of 1979 was the second of such crises, and saw the price of aviation fuel triple. The recession created by oil prices caused airline passenger traffic to fall significantly and airlines began reporting revenue losses. CPAir attempted several cost-saving programs under Presidents D.A. Colussy and Donald J. Carty.
These programs included parking a DC8-43 for a year, selling various aircraft, deferring aircraft purchases and leasing aircraft to other airlines, and employee lay-offs, which effected the members of Local Lodge 764. Four B747-217 aircraft were traded to Pakistani Airlines in exchange for four DC10-30’s. Maintenance members of Local Lodge 764 dubbed these four DC10’s the roach coaches.
The CPAir DC10 program included a four year exchange with United Airlines. CPAir operated three United DC10-10 aircraft domestically and on short-haul Atlantic and Hawaii routes, while United operated three CPAir DC10-30ER’s on its Seattle-Hong Kong route.
In the mid 1980’s CPAir completed the purchase of Nordair and Eastern Provincial Airlines (EPA). Most of the B737’s from these two airlines were integrated into the CPAir fleet, and some were sold. Nordair and EPA employees became members of Local Lodge 764. CPAir also entered into marketing arrangements with AirBC, then owned by businessman Jim Pattison.
Five Boeing 737-300 aircraft were part of an experiment in business class travel, marketed as -Attache-. Attache was not profitable, the service was terminated, and two aircraft were sold to the GPA Group in Ireland, and three exchanged for B737-200 aircraft.
On December 17, 1985 CPAir changes its name to Canadian Pacific Airlines and its aircraft colours from orange to Pacific blue on the lower portions, Sky white on the upper sections, and a separation stripe of Corporate red around the middle. In December 1986, Canadian Pacific Ltd., tired of continuous loses with its airline division, sells CP Air to Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) of Alberta. The sale is completed in early 1987.
In July 1987 the system-wide responsibilities of Local Lodge 764 are handed to over to newly-founded District Lodge 721. Along with the formation of the District, Local Lodge 764 members in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and the western provinces find themselves assigned to new Local Lodges in their respective territories. Machinists members in PWA Vancouver, members of Local Lodge 1500, are merged into Local Lodge 764 on August 31, 1988 by Grand Lodge Executive Council order. That same order also transfers LL764 members in clerical functions at Vancouver to Local Lodge 2749.
Local Lodge 764 members Ron Keras is elected President and Directing General Chairperson (PDGC) of District 721, and Bob McLean is elected National Secretary-Treasurer.
LOCAL LODGE OFFICES
1968 -#1 1371 S.W. Marine Drive Vancouver B.C. unit was torn down to make way for Knight Street Bridge
1971 -#2 6975 Victoria Drive, Vancouver B.C. unit was renovated to include lower street offices and multi-level condominiums
1979 -The Lodges Offices were on the upper level of this Office/Warehouse complex at Unit 206-7080 River Road Richmond BC – just the other side of the enclosed brick stairway behind the 22 wheeler.
Moved to 7980 River Road in 1989 to save costs of rental Building is at 7980 River Road, Richmond B.C. Building was originally a Manufacturing plant, and the interior was modified to house a main meeting hall, a Retirees office and lounge, and an enlarged receptionists area. “Existing” offices and an upper and lower Boardroom were modified to suit Local Lodge needs. In 2007, the upper Boardroom and two lower offices were renovated and CUPE 4094, representing Air Canada Flight Attendants, became tenants at the River Road facilities.
- The promise of Open Skies leads instead to airline bankruptcy in Canada
- The Machinists Union in Canada prepares for One District in Air Transport
- MTU is represented by LL764 in 1998
- Local Lodge 764 has a new employer in January 2000 (Air Canada) The year
Following the purchase of CPAir by PWA in 1987, the CEO of PWA, Rhys T. Eaton, became the CEO of the renamed company Canadian Airlines International (CAIL). Rhys and the renaming were but one of many unwanted changes to come in the 1990’s.
One unwanted change was mandated by the IAMAW Canadian Office. Skyline Local Lodge 1500 (PWA) was directed to merge into Local Lodge 764. Discussions to achieve an amiable integration agreement amongst the two Local Lodge Executive Boards ended in bitterness. Efforts by both IAM GVP Canada Val Bourgeois and Administrative Assistant Bob Biggar to broker a consensus failed. With patience gone, the Lodges were merged by Grand Lodge Executive Council order.
Local Lodge 764 was unique amongst IAMAW Canadian locals, in that its servicing mandate stretched from coast to coast. It had organized and received certifications for the ever-expanding divisions of CPAir, then later, CAIL. It was a Local Lodge that did business like a District.
So, in 1987, the servicing mandate for CAIL IAMAW members nationally was taken over by District Lodge 721. New Local Lodges in Alberta (1681), Manitoba (2223), Ontario (2754), Quebec (2309), and Halifax (1763) were created. Local Lodge 764 was left with jurisdiction in British Columbia and the Yukon, but still remained the largest Local Lodge, with the most votes, under District Lodge 721 jurisdiction.
By 1990, Rhys Eaton had bought out his competitor Wardair and bought up two regional carriers, Nordair and Air Inter, (later to become Inter-Canadi>n). The intent was to establish a feeder network in Canada and preserve CAIL market share. All of this buying activity took place in a global economic environment that was deteriorating rapidly.
The intent failed. All it produced was more corporate debt. Throughout the 1990’s, Local Lodge 764 tried to save member jobs. The Lodge assisted on Union-Company joint improvement committees, participated in Union-Management productivity schemes (HPWO), and was involved in Employee Share Ownership Plans. The worsening economy continued to drag CAIL down towards the black abyss of bankruptcy.
CAIL Management approached the Union for wage concessions. Union members felt loyalty to a Company that they had helped build over five decades, and anger at management who were squandering their legacy. They had built an airline with a world-wide reputation for technical excellence and service, and now it was cash-strapped.
Members reluctantly agreed to concessions.
By 1995, CAIL Management needed fresh investment to keep the company alive, and approached American Airlines for help. American agreed to provide technology and cash in exchange for one-third control of CAIL. That one-third would also control aircraft routes, management choices, Board of Director appointments, and day to day operations.
The agreement devastated Phoenix Lodge 2749. The 1200 member CAIL Accounting section under the IAM was moved to non-union Dallas, Texas. A huge majority of Local Lodge 2749 members lost their jobs.
American also insisted CAIL adopt American’s SABRE information and reservations technology. That insistence prompted an expensive lawsuit when CAIL had to abandon its joint development commitment to the Gemini reservations system with Air Canada.
Rhys Eaton left CAIL as CEO in 1995.
Rhys made way for American’s Don Carty. Carty left after two fruitless years to replace Robert Crandall as CEO of American.
Carty was followed by the two Kevins. The first was Kevin Jenkins, and the last was Kevin Benson.
The Kevins kept approaching Local Lodge 764 for more contractual concessions to keep CAIL alive. The members screamed.
Throughout all this period there were casualties – both Company and Union.
Rumour has it that Kevin Jenkins was let go as a condition of further Union concessions. Kevin Benson replaced Jenkins, and Benson was in turn replaced by an Air Canada Vice-President of Finance, after the acquisition of CAIL was approved by the Alberta Courts.
All of this stress for survival took its toll on many people including the Executive and Committee members of Local Lodge 764, 2749, and General Chairpersons of District Lodge 721.
It was to set the stage for the IAM Grand Lodge decision to merge the two IAM Air Transport District Lodges in Canada into District Lodge 140 in 1999.
Amongst the Local Lodge 764 Executive and Shop Committee members, the operative word was BOHICA-Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. Many members in good standing were either voted out of office, or chose not to run again. The membership vented their anger at Union meetings and at the ballot box.
As if the faltering Canadian economy was not enough to challenge the embattled CAIL, the Mulroney Federal Government made the situation worse by initiating the Open Skies Policy in 1996.
Open Skies makes North American airspace a free enterprise blood bath for any airline fit and able to serve the flying public. CAIL had to meet new challenges to survive from an already aggressive Air Canada, and now, a new no-frills startup airline in Alberta called Westjet.
The end of the twentieth century brought Local Lodge 764 and 2749’s greatest challenge. By December 1999 CAIL is bankrupt. The jobs of thousands of IAMAW members face extinction. CEO Kevin Benson has fought a rearguard action to maintain CAIL financial health, but in the end, it was not enough.
In an eleventh hour rescue, orchestrated by the Minister of Transport David Collenette, Air Canada purchased the Toronto Osaka route authorities from CAIL for three hundred million dollars. This sum kept CAIL operating into year 2000 and Lodge 764 and 2749 members employed.
The next part of the process the purchase of CAIL by Air Canada and the integration of the two companies lasts for three years.
This process becomes the major event of the new millennium for Local Lodge 764 and 2749.
This story is told in the next section of the History Project Local Lodge 764 – The year 2000 and beyond.
The year 2000 and beyond
- Local Lodge mergers into Local Lodge 764
- Corporate integration and CCAA
- Seniority issues
- The change of LL764 jurisdiction
- A new beginning
Local Lodge 2324 (IAMAW Air Canada B.C. and Alberta) is disbanded by the IAMAW Canadian Office. The B.C. membership joins LL764 in March 2002. The Alberta membership of LL2324 is merged into LL1681 (IAMAW CAIL Alberta).
Air Canada integrates the operations and staff of CAIL into its own systems.
In 2003, Air Canada declares bankruptcy. All unionized groups must make major wage and benefit concessions. The integration sparks major court battles and arbitrations between the IAMAW Air Canada and CAIL groups.
Local Lodge 764 now represents all IAMAW Air Canada employees in Ground Handling, Maintenance, Purchasing and Supply, Cargo, and Cabin Maintenance in B.C. and the Yukon. The Lodge also represents UAL members based at Vancouver, and MTU members in two work locations on the Lower Mainland.
In 2006 Members in Maintenance Technical, Clerical and Training functions are included in the IAMAW certification and become members of Local Lodge 2749, representing former CAIL Clerical employees. Local Lodge 2749 requested to merge with Local Lodge 764 and did so in October 2006.
Insights and Issues
The most difficult task to describe for any historian of Local Lodge 764 is the period following the merger of CAIL and Air Canada in 2000. The description demands all the historian’s skills at correctness and fairness, while detailing a challenging and emotional period of change for the Lodge.
Perhaps the best way to present this period is from two points of view.
The first viewpoint comes from a recollection that a member had, while working the day that CAIL was declared bankrupt. This recollection took place in December of 1999.
Beth had worked all the difficult years with Canadian Airlines in Passenger Service and had made every sacrifice.
To the very last she had embraced the dream that CAIL would continue to fly. When the Supreme Court of the Province of Quebec struck down the reverse take-over plan of Air Canada by CAIL and Onex, Beth wept openly at her workstation. The legacy of the Canadian Airways/CPAir/CAIL free enterprise air transport underdog created by Grant McConachie and others and maintained for 60 years had been snuffed out by the economic brutalities of the Open Skies Policy and the cold logic of the Canadian Courts.
There were no comforting words for Beth’s sadness, nor soothing words for her bitterness. She hid all of those emotions from the passengers that she still faithfully served. At the end of her shift, she left quietly, shuffling through the terminal towards home, alone in her thoughts, silent and despondent.
That same despondency would pervade the emotions of Local Lodge 764 members well into the new millennium.
The second viewpoint is from the records of the merger.
The record comes from newspaper accounts, and documents on file that summarize the legal arguments and merger issues, as provided by submissions from Local Lodge 764, and Company Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA) Ontario Court proceedings before Justice James Farley.
CAIL and Air Canada were legally merged in April 2000. There was the usual Federal Government political smoothing over of the amalgamation with job security guarantees and words about respect for all parties, and even an attempt to run the company under two collective agreements.
But all the guarantees were not to last, and no one believed ever that they would.
Air Canada needed a way out of this political and economic straight jacket and found one in April 2003.
Bankruptcy, orchestrated by Robert Milton and conducted by legally skilled Calin Rovinescu became the sad liturgy for Air Canada creditors and unions.
The bankruptcy declaration allowed Air Canada to abrogate all its previous responsibilities, including the CAIL/Air Canada collective agreements, as well as all the agreements with its other unions. Everybody was forced to make concessions. The IAMAW stood firm that the Air Canada Pension Plan was not to be touched. The Pension Plan survived.
Air Canada and CAIL had historically determined seniority in different ways in their collective agreements.
Seniority is fundamental because it determines vacation preference, job choice, shift selection, access to training and promotional opportunity, transfer ability, employment retention during downsizing, and consideration for special assignments.
The question of how seniority should be determined in the new Air Canada raged on for months before the arbitrator. The only winners were the lawyers and their billable hours.
The seniority arbitration award produced two angry groups within the Local Lodge.
The first group was mechanics that would not have previous work experience recognized by the new Air Canada collective agreement for progression to the certificated technician classifications. This resulted in the infamous List One/List Two distinction for mechanics created by the arbitrator. The list has been a festering sore for the Local Lodge since its creation.
The other group affected was part-time employees in Customer Service, mostly Station Attendants. In the CAIL Collective Agreement No.3, a part-time employee accumulated date of hire seniority day for day no matter the length of the scheduled hours of work. In the Air Canada collective agreement, part-time seniority accrual was based on actual hours worked. The arbitrator ruled in favour of the Air Canada method.
Many CAIL part-time employees, rich in days but poor in hours, faced the street when layoffs began. This history simply cannot mirror the intense explosion of anger that erupted at union meetings when this award was handed down.
A strong collective agreement with the new Air Canada was the finishing line for the IAMAW Lodges. The Lodges wanted to cherry pick the best clauses from the Air Canada and CAIL Agreements going forward. Air Canada Labour Relations would have none of it. The matter went before CCAA Judge Farley, and the Air Canada collective agreement wording prevailed.
Local Lodge 764 was now obliged to do business the Air Canada way. Confrontations with an aggressive management were frequent, creating a steady source of hearings, and income, for Arbitrator Martin Teplitsky.
Air Canada also began the process of splitting the company up into various divisions, and selling shares in those divisions to investors.
The IAMAW had always dealt with Air Canada as a single entity. The prospect of negotiating a collective agreement with each division provided no comfort to the Union.
Local Lodge 764 has entered the new millennium battered and bruised, reduced in strength by layoff and merger, but confident and toughened by the fact that its members possess the finest skills in the air transport world found anywhere.
We will be ready for contract negotiations in 2009.
A NOTE FROM THE HISTORY COMMITTEE:
The Committee is now comprised of Wes Sim (active), David Varnes (retired, Chair), Louis Sohar (retired), Al Watson (retired) and Eve Weimer (retired).
Al Watson and Eve Weimer participated in the June 2008 History Project class at Placid Harbour.
The History Committee will be investigating the cost of display cases for the Local Lodge office lobby, to properly present our collected memorabilia.
Thank you. David Varnes, History Ctte.
History pages updated June 21, 2008
Aircraft boneyard at Pinal Air Park, Marana Arizona. Site is currently managed by Evergreen International Airlines. Aircraft are either stored or dismantled on site.
The DC10-30’s were the first to go when Air Canada took over CAIL. CAIL SIGNATURE DC10-30 being dismantled.
Poster of all aircraft owned by the various airlines in Canada that were either bought or merged with Canadian Pacific Airlines/Pacific Western/CAIL and Air Canada from 1931 to 2000
- Bain, Donald M. Canadian Pacific Air Lines:Its History and Aircraft. KishornPublications, Calgary 1987. paperback, pp.126
- Pigott, Peter. Wingwalkers: The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Other Airline, HarbourPublishing, revised edition MadieraPark, B.C. 2003. paperback, pp.440
- Pigott, Peter. National Treasure: The History of Air Canada. HarbourPublishing, Madierapark B.C. 2001. Hardcover, pp. 476
- Smith, Philip. It Seemed Like Only Yesterday: Air Canada The First 50 Years. McLellandand Stewart, Toronto, 1986. paperback, pp. 368
- Render, Shirley. The Inside Story of Double Cross: James A. Richardson and Canadian Airways. Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., Vancouver, 1999. Hardcover, pp. 334
History Titbit 1
Throughout the 1960’s CPAir experienced delivery problems from Douglas Aircraft. Douglas was late delivering their DC8-63’s to CPAir, forcing the company to rent or buy odd-type aircraft (and our mechanics to fix them until their order arrived.
The first was a Douglas DC8-51, leased from Trans-International Airlines of Atlanta, Georgia in 1966 and returned a year later. A DC8-53 was bought in 1966 and sold to Aerovias Columbianas in 1982. A DC8-55F was bought from Braniff Airlines in 1967 and used in passenger service until 1977, then leased to Flying Tigers Inc. as a freighter for six months. It was sold in 1978 to an aircraft broker in the U.K.
In 1967, a B707-138B was leased from Standard Airways of Seattle. The aircraft was destroyed in a crash at Vancouver, B.C. in July 1968. The long-awaited DC8-63 aircraft (four of them) arrived in 1968, with a additional aircraft purchased from Eastern Airlines in late 1972.
The original four were sold to Worldways Canada of Toronto in 1983.The Eastern Airlines DC8-63 was sold to Cammacorp in 1982 and converted to a freighter.
History Titbit 2
PWA operated several B707 aircraft in charter service. One was a 1959 B707-138 model purchased used from Qantas (VH-EBA), re-registered in 1970 as CF-PWV and operated for several years.
The aircraft was later sold and passed through several hands before being purchased by the Saudi Arabian Government in 1986 and registered as HZ-123, where it had very light use.
The aircraft was sold to the Qantas Memorial Foundation in 2006, was overhauled and repainted in classic Qantas “V-Jet” red and white livery and re-registered as VH-XBA.
This aircraft still operates.
History Tidbit 3
FIRST DC8 FREIGHTER
Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada) took receipt of the first DC8-54(F) freighter in Canada in 1961. CF-TJL (AC812) was delivered from Douglas Aircraft in the “Jet-Trader” 12 pallet configuration. It was later modified to a 13 pallet configuration when the decision was made that the aircraft would not operate in passenger configuration.
The aircraft was sold in 1984 to the Loch Ness Company, who leased it to a European company, who in turn operated the aircraft under a sub-contract to DHL Europe. The aircraft was eventually sold to CargoLux of Luxembourg, who operated the aircraft in European cargo charter service.
CargoLux subsequently sold the aircraft to Andes Airlines of Ecuador in 1988, and fin 812 was operated by this carrier, and another from South America (Zuliana), before ending up in Miami in 1992 for dismantling. The aircraft was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in that year while being scrapped.
History Titbit 4
The six Air Canada L1011-500 series aircraft (AC551-556) sold to Delta were operated until consigned to desert storage after 1990. AC551 was scrapped. Two saw later use. One was sold (AC554) to Congo Airlines, which later became Hewa Bora Airlines, and was operated until replaced in 2007 with a B767. The other (AC552) was sold to YES Charter Airlines of Portugal and was operated until January 2007. The aircraft is currently being dismantled at Lisbon.