FAB Crewmembers Abandon Federal Conciliation, Seek Arbitration
Negotiators for cockpit crewmembers at Canadian carrier First Air say they are
deadlocked after almost two years at the bargaining table, and will seek an
arbitrator to craft a new agreement at the northern airline.
Negotiators and the FAB MEC reached the decision after talks using a
federally appointed conciliator broke down this week. Under the current
contract, both sides are required to enter arbitration if face-to-face talks
First Air’s crewmembers are seeking industry-standard cost of living
increases and higher per diems. Many members of the group live and work in
arctic communities with high living costs, but management wants lower
cost-of-living adjustments that would move the FAB group below industry
“We believe anything that makes the crewmember’s dollar
less valuable is concessionary, and we’ve told management from the very
beginning that we will not consider a concessionary contract,” said FAB MEC
chairman F/O Devin Lyall.
First Air opened negotiations in late 2010. The parties will now enter an
interest-based arbitration process where the arbitrator hears presentations from
both sides and can either mediate the talks further or craft an arbitration
award using elements from both union and management proposals.