WestJet CEO ramps up anti-union campaign
The head of WestJet has stepped up his fight against the growing push to unionize the airline’s staff, telling them to resist organized labour’s pitch because it will chomp into their paycheques.
In an email sent last Thursday to the company’s 12,000 employees, CEO Gregg Saretsky revealed that five unions are now trying to certify several groups of WestJet workers after its pilots agreed in May to join the Air Line Pilots Association.
“Unions are opportunistically trying to grow their businesses by targeting WestJetters,” Saretsky said in the email obtained by The Canadian Press.
“Because let’s be clear — unions are a business. They increase their revenue by recruiting new members, and WestJet represents an opportunity to significantly increase their profits.”
A spokeswoman for WestJet confirmed the authenticity of the email, adding that it’s part of an effort to ensure staff are “armed with the facts” about unionization.
Saretsky took specific aim at union dues, saying WestJet employees stand to pay $16.6 million a year if the unions succeed.
“Money that goes toward union bureaucracy and, in part, to organizing efforts at other companies!” he said.
“They get nearly $17 million of your money, or $425 million of your money over a 25-year career. What do you get? That’s the question we urge you to ask yourselves. Isn’t it better to get a cheque than a bill?”
The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which is trying to unionize WestJet flight attendants, said Saretsky’s email reflects he is “way out of whack” when it comes to understanding unions.