WestJet pilots have rejected forming a union by a small but decisive margin.
In a vote held over the last couple of weeks, 55 percent of the 1,247 who voted rejected the idea. The WestJet Professional Pilots Association, which was heading up the unionization movement, said 561 voted yes, 684 voted no and there were two spoiled ballots.
The association said it was disappointed with the result but hoped the effort will produce lasting results nonetheless.
“We hope the open discussions that have taken place as part of this process will set the stage for constructive dialogue between our pilots and WestJet leadership going forward,” the association said in a news release.
WestJet management were naturally pleased with the outcome but they also threw an olive branch to the significant number of pilots who don’t seem to like the way things have been going.
“Despite the positive outcome, there is continued work that needs to take place to better understand some of the issues for our pilot group and we can now turn our efforts to that goal,” said CEO Gregg Saretsky.
One of the main sources of friction appears to be the different pay and working conditions for pilots working for WestJet’s new regional carrier Encore. Also, pilots wanted more clarity on the process of upgrading from first officer to captain according to a CBC report.