Contract Talks With WestJet Pilots Breakdown, Raising Potential For A Strike

The union representing pilots at privately held WestJet Airlines has announced that contract negotiations with the airline have broken down and that federal conciliation might be required to avoid a strike.

ALPA Canada, which represents 1,800 pilots at WestJet and its low-cost subsidiary Swoop, said it has been negotiating unsuccessfully with the Calgary-based airline since last September.

Under federal law, employers and unions can request help through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to negotiate collective agreements.

At issue for WestJet pilots are wages and scheduling concerns.

The union is also fighting for pilots that fly WestJet aircraft to receive equal pay for equal work. Currently, pilots who fly for Swoop are paid less than pilots who fly for WestJet.

WestJet has said that it remains focused on working with ALPA to reach a new contract and avoid any work disruption at the airline.

WestJet pilots unionized in May 2017. Since then, other employee groups at the airline have also unionized, including flight attendants and airport workers.

The previous pilots' contract expired at the end of 2022. That contract was reached through an arbitrated settlement process between ALPA and WestJet.