IAM Files Lawsuit to Protect Union Rights in Canada

The IAM announced it has launched a court challenge to the legislation known as Bill C-33, used by the Conservative government in Canada to deny Machinists Union members the right to strike Air Canada and to send them into a biased arbitration process.

The government’s heavy-handed use of this back-to-work legislation prevented 8,300 Machinists members at Air Canada from taking legal strike action on March 12, 2012.

“Removing free collective bargaining and the right to strike from workers in the federal sector will poison labour relations between our members and Air Canada for years to come,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “The freedom of association is one of the fundamental rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What other rights will they take away from working Canadians in the future if we do not take a stand now?”

Paul Cavalluzzo, a leading constitutional lawyer, will represent the IAM. Mr.Cavalluzzo is also representing the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in a similar challenge.

“The government did not allow the free collective bargaining process to run its course,” explained Ritchie. “Instead the government came down clearly on the side of the employer and declared open season on workers’ rights. We simply cannot stand by and allow that to happen.”

The IAM is the largest union at Air Canada representing 8,300 Line Maintenance Mechanics, Auto Mechanics, Millwrights, Electricians, Inspectors, Technical Writers, Planners, Instructors, Cabin Groomers, Aircraft cleaners, Baggage and Cargo Handlers, Baggage and Cargo Agents, and Weight and Balance Agents.