Wasaya MEC Holds Road Shows in Support of TA

Last week, members of the Wasaya MEC traveled to Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, and Thunder Bay, Ont., meeting with more than half of the Wasaya pilots in support of the tentative agreement reached in late March with the company. Should this three-and-half-year agreement be ratified, it will be the second collective bargaining agreement the pilots have negotiated since joining ALPA in 2008. The TA includes improved pay rates, a new salary system, and increased per diem. It also provides for pilots to take more sick time and improves vacation benefits.

“This contract improves upon what we gained in our first contract,” says Wasaya MEC Chairman James Harding. “But it also provides long-term gains so that pilots who start at Wasaya can have a career at Wasaya. We have built a strong relationship with our company and this contract reflects that relationship.”

Unlike the first contract, this agreement was negotiated through a process called interest-based negotiations. Unlike traditional negotiations, the two sides share their ideas on a part of the contract they collaborate on, finding a mutually beneficial solution. This accelerated the process for finalizing the agreement and provided for greater gains for the 77-member pilot group. It also promoted greater understanding between the pilots and the new management.

Wasaya flies routes in northern Ontario and provides vital airlift to 25 First Nation communities. Many of these communities are inaccessible by road and rely on Wasaya to bring in not only passengers but also food, medicine, and other supplies. The tentative agreement is now before the pilot group, with voting closing at the end of the month.