Air Canada union optimistic members will back deal

Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:42pm EDT
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By Nicole Mordant and Randall Palmer

(Reuters) - The union representing Air Canada flight attendants was optimistic on Tuesday that its members would support a last-minute labor deal hammered out with the country's biggest airline.

The tentative contract agreement was reached between Air Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on Tuesday afternoon, less than nine hours before the start of a strike by about 6,800 flight attendants, which would have grounded much of the airline's fleet.

The agreement must still be ratified by union members, who rejected a previous deal with Air Canada last month.

"We are pretty confident that we have a good deal," said Jeff Taylor, president of CUPE's Air Canada component.

The union got "pretty much everything they were asking us to bring them," Taylor said at a press conference in Montreal. He declined to give any details of what was in the agreement.

Air Canada's B shares jumped more than 7 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the announcement of a deal, closing at C$1.70.

Details of the new contract agreement will be made public only after it has been ratified by workers, Air Canada and CUPE said.

It will take seven days to notify members of the new agreement plus another 10 for members to hold a ratification vote, Taylor said, meaning the acceptance or rejection of the contract will be known around October 7.   Continued...