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Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic

Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic

Old Sep 24, 20, 11:58 pm
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Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic

Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic

https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...ers-Into-Panic

Interesting state of affairs.

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Sep 30, 20 at 12:26 am Reason: Font size
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Old Sep 25, 20, 1:46 am
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Originally Posted by Fisch View Post
Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic

https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...ers-Into-Panic

Interesting state of affairs.
Oh, what a disrespectful way to write a press release. The tone is all wrong. This is not going to help their cause. They should start by being thankful for the assistance that the airline is receiving before asking for special treatment.

This is a program that is keeping a lot of businesses alive, especially in the tourism and hospitability industry. WestJet is in the same boat as many other businesses that are waiting for details on what this program looks like in January. The details until the end of the year have been out from some time, what is unknown is what happens in January.

The federal government announced its intention to extend the program into the summer. The government now needs to go to parliament and obtain a mandate from the tax payers representatives to extend the program.

It is also weird this is from the union and not some type of joint new release from the company and unions. They need to come up with a common consistent request before they start demanding the government do things.
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Last edited by NewbieRunner; Sep 30, 20 at 12:27 am Reason: Font size
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
Oh, what a disrespectful way to write a press release. The tone is all wrong. This is not going to help their cause. They should start by being thankful for the assistance that the airline is receiving before asking for special treatment.

This is a program that is keeping a lot of businesses alive, especially in the tourism and hospitability industry. WestJet is in the same boat as many other businesses that are waiting for details on what this program looks like in January. The details until the end of the year have been out from some time, what is unknown is what happens in January.

The federal government announced its intention to extend the program into the summer. The government now needs to go to parliament and obtain a mandate from the tax payers representatives to extend the program.

It is also weird this is from the union and not some type of joint new release from the company and unions. They need to come up with a common consistent request before they start demanding the government do things.
Good for them. They are right to be aprehensive.

It seems this labour group is simply conveying their workers personal financial burdens/ concerns of their respective workers. If it wasn’t this group voicing these concerns it would have been another group.

It is justifiable for them to raise concern of the workforce , which was given a set amount from the onset of the subsidy program , in the beginning of the pandemic in Canada, and to now have a drastic reduction in the benefit , knowing that virus is heading into second waves with potential for more lockdowns in Canada as seen across the world already. It is rightful criticism as seeing as how many times this program was modified . Fixed household costs do not wait and perhaps the government ought to be more nimble in their handling and deliverance of their promises of these covid relief benefits. Yes ofcourse there is due process in legislating bills and what not. But one would think, knowing this virus has not finished its wrath, is it wise for any government to begin clawing back benefits? Especially with no cure or vaccine yet available? So why tinker with emergency benefits and begin tapering them down? Of course your public will react and demand you to act quick and to provide consistent relief.


It appears from reading Canada’s press that it isn’t the only area of the Canadian public crying afoul, it appears the CERB was also going to be cut at such a critical time and to have the recipients transitioned to a newer employment insurance with a reduced benefit amount. At such a critical moment , this does not make sense. I see the government has now decided to maintain the original $500 benefit amount with the transition to the new employment insurance benefit.


It is quite embarrassing the Canadian government is not doing something specific to ensure the air transport sector does not collapse. Even here in Denmark our governing bodies are aiding SAS.

Shameful to see Canada and the U.K both taking a sideline approach to the aviation sector.

From one perspective, yes the aviation sector is in the same boat awaiting for details on how the Wage program will further unfold . The main difference however is where the aviation sector is seated in that “boat” and how many seats it takes up on that boat in comparison to other industries relying on the Wage subsidy. Canada’s aviation sector alone supports more than 600,000+ jobs and contributes approximately 3% to the Canadian GDP.

The airline sector is further throttled by quarantine and border restrictions which are decimating aviation / hospitality industries more so.

If the Canadian auto sector was seen as a a priority in 2008’s disaster , so to is the aviation.
This letter highlighted some very excellent points.
https://www.eturbonews.com/567293/ca...ustin-trudeau/

I quite like flying on both your national carriers on my trips to Canada, hopeful your government does alleviate your airline sector. It appears relief in this crisis truly depends on what part of the world one lives in https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/w...ief-wages.html
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Last edited by cirrusdragoon; Sep 25, 20 at 3:34 am
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Old Sep 25, 20, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by cirrusdragoon View Post
Good for them. They are right to be aprehensive.

It seems this labour group is simply conveying their workers personal financial burdens/ concerns of their respective workers. If it wasn’t this group voicing these concerns it would have been another group.

It is justifiable for them to raise concern of the workforce , which was given a set amount from the onset of the subsidy program , in the beginning of the pandemic in Canada, and to now have a drastic reduction in the benefit , knowing that virus is heading into second waves with potential for more lockdowns in Canada as seen across the world already. It is rightful criticism as seeing as how many times this program was modified . Fixed household costs do not wait and perhaps the government ought to be more nimble in their handling and deliverance of their promises of these covid relief benefits. Yes ofcourse there is due process in legislating bills and what not. But one would think, knowing this virus has not finished its wrath, is it wise for any government to begin clawing back benefits? Especially with no cure or vaccine yet available? So why tinker with emergency benefits and begin tapering them down? Of course your public will react and demand you to act quick and to provide consistent relief.


It appears from reading Canada’s press that it isn’t the only area of the Canadian public crying afoul, it appears the CERB was also going to be cut at such a critical time and to have the recipients transitioned to a newer employment insurance with a reduced benefit amount. At such a critical moment , this does not make sense. I see the government has now decided to maintain the original $500 benefit amount with the transition to the new employment insurance benefit.


It is quite embarrassing the Canadian government is not doing something specific to ensure the air transport sector does not collapse. Even here in Denmark our governing bodies are aiding SAS.

Shameful to see Canada and the U.K both taking a sideline approach to the aviation sector.

From one perspective, yes the aviation sector is in the same boat awaiting for details on how the Wage program will further unfold . The main difference however is where the aviation sector is seated in that “boat” and how many seats it takes up on that boat in comparison to other industries relying on the Wage subsidy. Canada’s aviation sector alone supports more than 600,000+ jobs and contributes approximately 3% to the Canadian GDP.

The airline sector is further throttled by quarantine and border restrictions which are decimating aviation / hospitality industries more so.

If the Canadian auto sector was seen as a a priority in 2008’s disaster , so to is the aviation.
This letter highlighted some very excellent points.
https://www.eturbonews.com/567293/ca...ustin-trudeau/

I quite like flying on both your national carriers on my trips to Canada, hopeful your government does alleviate your airline sector. It appears relief in this crisis truly depends on what part of the world one lives in https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/w...ief-wages.html
The government has been fairly consistent with how they have released these programs. They have usually come out with something for a three month period. A month or two before it expires they extend it for another 3 months with some fine tuning of the rules. With no string attached WestJet is getting 75-100% subsidy on salaries up to a certain living wage cap.

The government has floating some trial balloons of a program targeting the maintenance of flights into smaller communities that may not be able to support air service under this climate. How much of that will go to AC and WS who operate 75+ seat aircraft is a bit of an unknown.

This government is also more "Green" that other past governments. Most people are willing to accept the great good of aviation vrs the environmental impact. However doing what was happening in the US where airlines are flying empty aircraft just to keep the airlines operating is not the best solution either.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 10:49 am
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The only thing that I see as being overly dramatic in here is the following line: "Ottawa needs to realize that if they don’t act, we may not have commercial air travel by the end of the pandemic.”

Otherwise, the government has proactively announced many programs that are subject to parliamentary approval. For whatever reason, mostly policy-based it seems, the government has been slow to announce assistance to several hard hit sectors, notably oil and gas and aviation.

At the same time, to expect that AC/WS will retain even close to the same staffing levels in the medium term (next 5 years even perhaps) is unreasonable and some kind of transition of a portion of those folks to the new EI program being rolled out makes sense, with hopefully some overall support to the sustainability of the industry at the same time.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 11:28 am
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An interesting commonality between WS and the federal government is that neither of them actually has the money in the bank. While I don't disagree with the government providing assistance to those sectors of the economy that need it to survive, they have been literally shoveling tens of BILLIONS of dollars they don't have off the back of a truck, while we have not seen even the slightest thought put into how they're going to pay for it. There is only one possibility: massive tax increases in one form or another. Just wait.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
For whatever reason, mostly policy-based it seems, the government has been slow to announce assistance to several hard hit sectors, notably oil and gas and aviation.
I suspect that is because the unspoken "bailout" policy for both is nationalization.

Let both industries collapse and then Ottawa will pick up the pieces they deem essential.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Error 601 View Post
I suspect that is because the unspoken "bailout" policy for both is nationalization.

Let both industries collapse and then Ottawa will pick up the pieces they deem essential.
I would tend to agree. The auto-industry bailout is one where the government ended up with an equity position. Does the private equity firm that owns WestJet want to give up majority ownership to the federal government? Probably not.

As for how the government will fund all of this. I suspect it is going to come down to printing money. Normally they can't do that because of hit on the value of the currency. However if every other country in the world in in similar boats that cancels itself out.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Error 601 View Post
I suspect that is because the unspoken "bailout" policy for both is nationalization.

Let both industries collapse and then Ottawa will pick up the pieces they deem essential.
I think it has more to do with the fact that they would rather fund people directly and not businesses. A different approach from the Conservatives in 2008, history will tell which was the better approach, I have no idea.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
I think it has more to do with the fact that they would rather fund people directly and not businesses. A different approach from the Conservatives in 2008, history will tell which was the better approach, I have no idea.
I don't think the Trudeau government wants to bail out companies that will be adversarial to their increasingly militant environmental policies when they can just wait for them to fail and install docile bureaucrats to operate the airlines and oil companies at a scope they deem compatible with their emissions targets.
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Old Sep 27, 20, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
I think it has more to do with the fact that they would rather fund people directly and not businesses. A different approach from the Conservatives in 2008, history will tell which was the better approach, I have no idea.
I would disagree I think the Emergency Wage Subsidy is all about keeping the Employer and Employee relationship. That money is paying salaries and the company is gaining the benefit of those resources. The government could have shifted everyone into an EI type system.

I am honestly surprised that with all the WS employees on the payroll that are not flying aircraft they have not shifted them into other roles within WS temporarily.

As an example, I am a frequent flyer at WS, I also have a WS Corporate Booking Tool account. I also have an AMEX travel oriented small business card. Within a few weeks of the shutdown I got a call from AMEX, to basically say were here for you. I did not get a call from WS saying "we are here for you when your ready to start traveling again". Despite the fact WS had thousands of customer facing employees they were paying for and not using.

WS could have shifted some of those people to their Cargo business and used it as an opportunity to build up that business potentially in new ways. With "free" labour for 6 months to a year they could have started our with most ineffective and labour intensive operation and over time build the SOP they would need for normal times. They instead paid people to stay at home.

Shifting inflight staff to being engineering is not viable but into other customer service roles is quite viable if the organization is nimble, entrepreneurial and has everyone pulling together around shared goals.
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Old Sep 27, 20, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
I would disagree I think the Emergency Wage Subsidy is all about keeping the Employer and Employee relationship. That money is paying salaries and the company is gaining the benefit of those resources. The government could have shifted everyone into an EI type system.

I am honestly surprised that with all the WS employees on the payroll that are not flying aircraft they have not shifted them into other roles within WS temporarily.

As an example, I am a frequent flyer at WS, I also have a WS Corporate Booking Tool account. I also have an AMEX travel oriented small business card. Within a few weeks of the shutdown I got a call from AMEX, to basically say were here for you. I did not get a call from WS saying "we are here for you when your ready to start traveling again". Despite the fact WS had thousands of customer facing employees they were paying for and not using.

WS could have shifted some of those people to their Cargo business and used it as an opportunity to build up that business potentially in new ways. With "free" labour for 6 months to a year they could have started our with most ineffective and labour intensive operation and over time build the SOP they would need for normal times. They instead paid people to stay at home.

Shifting inflight staff to being engineering is not viable but into other customer service roles is quite viable if the organization is nimble, entrepreneurial and has everyone pulling together around shared goals.
I agree that it is about the Employer-Employee relationship, but ultimately much more about the employees at this point than a subsidy for business itself. In 2008, the subsidies were also about keeping jobs, but primarily to ensure the long-term sustainability of the businesses and all the money didn't necessarily go to the employees. While it might sound harsh to employees, my view is that long-term viability for the businesses is probably the best in the long run for everyone and allow other programs (e.g. EI) to manage the rest in the best way possible. It is interesting to see the different approaches being taken at different times and in different countries.
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Old Sep 27, 20, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by Sopwith View Post
An interesting commonality between WS and the federal government is that neither of them actually has the money in the bank. While I don't disagree with the government providing assistance to those sectors of the economy that need it to survive, they have been literally shoveling tens of BILLIONS of dollars they don't have off the back of a truck, while we have not seen even the slightest thought put into how they're going to pay for it. There is only one possibility: massive tax increases in one form or another. Just wait.
And just like every business that is bleeding cash - the solution is punted to the future with the expectation that things will turn-around in time and today's debt can be repaid with tomorrow's money. Massive tax increases are not the only possibility (some increase, most probably); we've been in worse debt/GDP positions before and just like my parents' mortgage - the solution has been to inflate your way out of the debt over a period of a decade or longer. Government fiscal realities don't follow the same rules as are available to us mere mortals with respect to our personal debt. And, as long as ever other country is doing-it (particularly the USA, which is per-capita very similar position to Canada with respect to debt), many economists would argue that the currency won't take a hit either.
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Old Sep 28, 20, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Fisch View Post

Lack of Detail From Liberals Sends WestJet Workers Into Panic


https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...ers-Into-Panic

Interesting state of affairs.
I don’t see Gerry Schwartz or ONEX pumping any cash of their own into westjet to help through these circumstances. In fact, they have probably accelerated cuts they wanted to make anyway. Why not promote how poorly ownership worth $billions has treated westjet employees?
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Old Sep 28, 20, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by wolvie007 View Post
I don’t see Gerry Schwartz or ONEX pumping any cash of their own into westjet to help through these circumstances. In fact, they have probably accelerated cuts they wanted to make anyway. Why not promote how poorly ownership worth $billions has treated westjet employees?
Being private we can't tell. What we do know is either the union does not understand the program they are complaining about or they are playing games.

Their union spokesperson is basically saying “WestJet can't float our wages until Ottawa fills in the blanks, so our members are seeing their cheques cut in half.” Which makes no sense. The government has made clear what the rules are until December. What is up in the air is what the program looks like in the new year. Under the rules that existed in the summer WestJet would have received 75% under the new rules it could be close to 100%.
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