How Air Canada broke the law, laid off thousands of workers, and outsourced operations to Israeli military drone maker

Air Canada had a very simple plan to increase its profits.

Step 1: Spin the airline’s heavy maintenance unit off as a separate entity
Step 2: Starve the spin-off of work and bankrupt it gradually
Step 3: Outsource the operations to an Israeli military drone manufacturing company wholly owned by the government of Israel.

Air Canada spun off its in-house maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit Air Canada Technical Services as a separate company, AVEOS, in 2007, four years after the national carrier entered into bankruptcy protection.

In 2011, many Air Canada workers were transferred against their will to AVEOS, despite a legal challenge by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
to prevent this transfer.

Slowly, but surely, Air Canada started taking work away from AVEOS, and sending it abroad, First it was to Germanythen to China. As Air Canada accounted for 90% of AVEOS’s business, Air Canada’s actions hit the maintenance company hard, and AVEOS was forced to file for bankruptcy in March 2012 leave 2,600 employees jobless.

Air Canada CEO  Calin Rovinescu, who raked in $9.5 million the same year, justified Air Canada’s actions by placing the blame squarely on AVEOS for not being “cost competitive”.

The Attorney General of Canada filed a law suit against Air Canada for breaching the  Air Canada Public Participation Act which reads:

6. (1) The articles of continuance of the Corporation shall contain

(d) provisions requiring the Corporation to maintain operational and overhaul centres in the City of Winnipeg, the Montreal Urban Community and the City of Mississauga;

In February 2013, the Quebec Superior Court issued a 139-page ruling finding Air Canada guilty of violating the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

“The court concludes that Air Canada doesn’t respect the law put in place when it privatized in 1988,” Justice Martin Castonguay wrote.

Georges Bujold, general chairman, eastern region, for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers warned the workers not to have too high expectations about getting their jobs back anytime soon, as he expected Air Canada to drag this all the way to the
the Supreme Court, and a final ruling won’t be made for years.

Bujold’s prediction came true in the form of a terse email from Air Canada: “Air Canada will be appealing this Quebec Superior Court decision, given the importance of the matter, and makes no further comment at this time.”

Even if the Supreme Court rules in the Canadian workers’ favour, Bujold fears that the Harper government will simply pass legislation to overturn the decision.

“We never know with the Tories what position they would take but it wouldn’t surprise the IAM that Air Canada would make that request to the prime minister or the minister of transport to revisit the Air Canada Act and make those modifications,” Bujold said.

In January 2014, the Air Canada CEO accompanied Stephen Harper on the Prime Minister’s official visit to Isreal. A year later, Air Canada signed a maintenance deal with Israel Aerospace Industries, a company wholly owned by the government of Isreal, and considered to be a pioneer of drone technology.

Senate Judiciary Committee – Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights heard from journalist and author Peter Bergen that “Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones and drone technology, and the state-owned Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) has sold to countries as varied as Nigeria, Russia and Mexico. IAI has also reportedly sold a ‘loitering weapon’ called the Harop to India, Turkey, France, and Germany.”

Meanwhile, it has been a turbulent time for many of the 2,600 workers who lost their jobs and had to wait almost two years to hear any news of their severance pay or pensions. Some workers are hopeful that Air Canada will drop its appeal and bring maintenance jobs back to Canada. Many others, however, are not holding their breath.

63 Responses to How Air Canada broke the law, laid off thousands of workers, and outsourced operations to Israeli military drone maker

  1. ram naresh says:

    Very nice

  2. Canbyte says:

    Greedy CEOs. Greedy unions. Greedy governments. Traitorous prime minister. Apathetic Canadians. No surprise then.

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain how the unions are greedy. Concrete examples, please. Not just some blanket statement.

      • Anonymous says:

        This “greedy Union” has fought tooth and nail for the last few years to get these people back to work…without any sort or supporting statement with your comment, you appear to the rest of us to be a complete fucking moron

        • Ian says:

          The “greedy union members ” gave up 15% pay , overtime pay , shift premiums , and a week of vacation , and by the way we don’ get stat holidays either . When I work to make your flight safe on Christmas , it’s just another day . No stat pay . No overtime .

          • Ian says:

            Oh ya , forgot to mention , we only got a 2% raise after a 10 year freeze . The top 14 execs however gave tgemselves a big pat on the back . They split 100,000,000 shares . Ceo got 35,0000,000 .

        • Anonymous says:

          Ass hole

        • Anonymous says:

          The iamaw was in it all the way. They signed a gag order not to tell anyone what was planned. We the worker should take the f..ck up iamaw to court and get all out dues back.

        • Anonymous says:

          As you are stooping to profanity we can only assume you are an angry idiot..

      • [email protected] says:

        Concrete examples…..ha!!
        Just the fact that the agreement that was shoved down the employees throats was signed by Air Canada, the IAM, and Aveos is enough to prove the IAM was in bed with the company. The union constantly fought saying Aveos wasn’t a viable company yet they agreed to let this agreement pass. All they had to do was advise the employees to pick the Air Canada option and jobs would have been saved.
        As one high ranking union member told me, we don’t protect employees. …we protect their jobs. So as long as Aveos had jobs and the IAM was the union representing them, their job was done.

    • David Carey says:

      I attended many meetings and talked to gc’s and iamaw local presidents in yqt and yyz. They fought hard hard did what they could. If you need to be mad look at the Conservative Party of Canada, they allowed this.

      Ps i post with my name and stand by what I post.

  3. The night we will never forget says:

    put life has never been the same since that day. I hope that one day they will pay for what they did. Worst part is they left a voices message on the phone at 9:00 pm yelling you you have no job not to report to work Monday morning. Not even the balls to speak to you just leave a message. That’s what you get for giving 18 years and loyal to air canada

    • chelle says:

      That voicemail was a dagger in my heart. Being an AME was the best part of my life, regardless of other people’s jaded view of the company.

  4. Jai says:

    I still haven’t received that phone call telling me to not come in the following Monday. I was told through co workers….

  5. Yolande says:

    Still remember THAT phone call. I was just going back to work after a work-related injury. ‘Don’t come in, we’ve declared bankruptcy.’ My husband had gone back to school, after years of minimum-wage work after he’d been laid off from his job, three kids to feed and no more work.
    I know the chances of getting my old job back are almost nil, and I had to change to another line of work not to exile myself, but God do I miss it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yolande if you did not screw the system all the time and did some work things would have been better.

      • Rob Newton says:

        Wow, It amazes me how the derogatory comments mostly come from people that hide behind the anonymous banner, If you think you have a valid point don’t be such a coward and come out from behind the curtain and put a name to your comment.

  6. Zipper says:

    The Conservative Government has never been a friend of Aviation in Canada. Just remember back to the Avro Arrow aircraft and then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Stephen Harper is no better and the Conservativbe Government continues to back big business and pay little attention to the general Canadian worker. The Aviation industry was dealt a major blow with the cancelation of the Avro Arrow and now also with the termaination of Air Canada’s Heavy Maintenance operations.
    Some people have gained significantly and it’s not been the workers !

  7. Winston says:

    Those jobs will never be in-sourced back to Air Canada. STOP DREAMING! The Heavy Maintenance world has been ravaged by cut throat global competition and a race to the bottom. Profit margins in the Heavy MRO business are a razor thin 4%, and that’s with non-unionized labour! Air Canada’s board of directors will never Okay a return of the high cost Heavy Maintenance operation. The IAMAW failed its members and deserves to adsorb some blame. They FAILED to come to terms with the new realities of the Heavy Mtce world and the FAILED to inform their membership that rough seas were ahead. Had they done so, the membership would atleast have a chance to make drastic changes and be the masters of their own fate rather than experience the psychodrama that unfolded. The article also fails to mention that in addition to Israel, Air Canada is outsourcing its heavy maintenance to Miami, Deluth, Ireland, Mirabel and Singapore.

  8. Retired AC mtce says:

    I blame the Union for lack of flexibility as well. CARS allows for cross utilization of trades. The union didn’t. A little more productivity would have helped as well. 15 minutes smokining every hour didn’t help either. We were our own worst enemies.

  9. Jimbo says:

    I will always blame the fucking union! I will never work in a unionized job again because of my experience of working at air canada.

  10. So sad says:

    I could see the writing on the wall back in the mass cull of 2007. I miss it dearly, but I’m glad I’ve moved on… I feel sorry for those that hung on, and sorry for the taxpayers. This corporation was allowed to steal from them with impunity. The icing on the cake is a CEO that makes more than 10x an AMEs working salary IN RETIREMENT!! Tell me how that’s in the shareholders best interest…

  11. Warren Goodwin says:

    It was my understanding that the reason AVEOS could not make a go of it in Winnipeg was that our non Air Canada customers were encouraged by Air Canada to take their heavy maintenance business to a facility in Central America that Air Canada set up for that purpose.

  12. Israel? says:

    Any thing done in Israel is a safety concern. Remember the USS Liberty, 9-11, the underwear bomber, etc. and potential Israeli false flag involvement.

    • bill smith says:

      Excellent point.Israel doesn’t have allies, they have host. Canada needs to be careful or the will end up like the US, with Israeli’s running the country.

      • Anonymous says:

        2 idiots.You guys using Israeli technology with every keystrock on your keyboard. Why don’t you boycott that too? Moronic hipocrats

    • Ron says:

      LOL!!!! Thanks for the laugh! Let’s take these in order: liberty, after many investigations, was deemed a tragic accidents by all relevant parties. 9-11 was an Israeli attack? Strange how only you are aware of this. You are also the only one with secret information tying the underwear bomber to Israel. Perhaps you can share yours ounces with a few givernments who are not privy to your secret info? And I have yet to see anyone who mumbles about Israel false flag operations being able to back up their bullshit when challenged. I guess it is more secret information only you know.

  13. Snagvator says:

    Union=lazyness=bankruptcy
    too many people oversnagging, too many chief (management), too many wannabe and babies. Upper management with no respect, lower management with no support.

    Is it really a surprise that they did that?

    You really think the Liberals would off done different than conservative? REALLY?
    Ignorant fools! that why you lost your job…most of you accepted to work for AVEOS in the first place. A few little resisted. Talk about UNION!

    • UNIONMAN says:

      without inions you’d be working 16 hour days, seven days a week for nickels an hour. Yeah, unions are greedy and to blame. How about the shareholders, the corporations themselves? Are you conceivably as stupid, ignorant and myopic as you sound? Can’t be, must be a computer program. No one is uninformed and lost as you…….oh god how I hope…..

  14. not good says:

    what can anyone expect from a nazi zionist canandian govrnment call the tories, these people are traitors to canada, they sold their souls to the nazi zionist

    • Anonymous says:

      Sick! I hope next time you go to the doctor, you make sure to boycott Zionist medicine, even if your life depends on it.This way you will visit your friend Adolf in Hell that much sooner.

  15. Air Canada or Aveos says:

    Every one was given an option to work for either Air Canada ( with a probable chance of relocating) or work for Aveos and ride out a sinking ship. It was pretty obvious what was happening. I really wish every single employee had chosen Air Canada, leaving Aveos with no employees.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!! We were given a choice and our union did not come out and tell us what we should do. They are there to protect our jobs. This split was done with the union’s blessing…….Thanks for nothing!! Now we’ll see what happens when they try and sell off Ground Handling!

  16. joe says:

    Is there no one, no government, or company left that isn’t subservient to Israel? Certainly we know that Israel installed one its own to run AC for all the usual reasons but when will Kanadians and Amerikans have had enough?

    • Anonymous says:

      Bigoted racists hijacked the conversation again.Just keep those keystrokes going, and enrich the beautiful, compassionate, brilliant people of Israel. I guess you go for ISIS.

  17. Sharpin La says:

    I’d avoid anything to do with that company. They’ll try to poison you or kill you so nasty Talmudists.

  18. dumb comments says:

    wow I’ve read some dumb comments before but this thread really takes the cake

  19. […] How Air Canada broke the law, laid off thousands of workers, and outsourced operations to Israeli military drone maker Sat May 02 2015 12:40:04 GMT-0400 (Eastern Standard Time) http://thinkpol.ca/2015/03/09/how-air-canada-broke-the-law-and-outsourced-operations-to-israeli-mili… […]

  20. This makes sense! We flew Air Canada last year and were horrified at the extreme cheapness of the airline. First, we had an SF to Athens, Greece flight fraught with delays and cancellations totaling up to almost 3 days without just compensation. We fought Air Canada in the end and got some money back – http://battlemountain.co/2015/04/30/get-airhelp/#respond

  21. Roger says:

    Has anyone investigated if there is any connection to the Prime Minister? Form what I can see Harper loves Israel but doesn’t seem to care much about Canada. Is he a Zionist agent?

  22. James says:

    The very same thing is happening with jazz right now. They just purchased another mro in Ontario and they are planning on taking all the heavy MTC from the jazz workers to have this newly purchased airline do their heavy. As soon as they fulfill their obligation to the Nova Scotia government for the big handout they got two years ago to shut down the London Ontario base and move it all to Halifax base. Now that base will be shutting down.

  23. Cuzn IT says:

    If you people only knew the pathetic condition the aircraft you fly in youd book a train or swim. Maybe you all should look in the court system for suits filled against AC for operating aircraft that are NOT air worthy.or look into the 767s that went to china for majojr o/h and came back hundreds of killos lighter,missing fasteners.The fasteners they didnt loose or didn’t know what they were for so they decideded to put the spare parts in baggies and tie the to the ribs of the air craft under the interior panels. Dont worry folks they only forgot to install door track fasenters in l1 resulting in the door opening during flt.albeit only 8 inches at 29000 ft no biggie only sucked out the flt attd purse and not her so she was able to continue serving. Intersting FACT about SA mtc facility.a L.A.T. (Lic aircraft tech) is the guy who insures the work orders are carried out according to manf .therwas only 2 in that facility.feel safer now? Ac saved millions and you may pay with your life.
    All that aside ac mtc delays are throigh the roof. MEL (min eqp list)delays for days from procrastination or simply not giving a shit how long you are delayed.until recently no compensation.
    I worked for these jackles for many decades and have not used a flt pass in over 20 years. I value my life even tho Ac doesnt.
    As in the manf secotor cheap wins i give you china manf. And how are those quality made in china products working for ya now

    • Answering to stupid says:

      First of all learn how to write proper English please. And second this is the stupidest reply amongst all the other reply here. Basically saying you sir are a moronic idiot.

  24. […] cost cutting and subcontracting is an everyday reality. Just ask the IAMAW. In fact, Air Canada has broken the law in the process of sending work offshore. Back in May, Unifor had even landed a rare victory when an […]

  25. Dehav says:

    Lots of blame to spread around here.
    The employees with the backing of the Union allowed productivity to fall to unsustainable levels. The company played the hand they could to stick handle around labour regs.
    The shareholders got what they wanted which was manageable mtc costs and a solvent company.
    Who cares if the Israeli amo make drones…

  26. Poverty says:

    The insulting thing is that assuming Air Banana appeals AGAIN and loses AGAIN it is now too late to restore the lost maintenance infrastructure or the 2600 plus jobs. This was a plot between Air Banana, the Harper government and offshore interests. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if the IAMAW was also bought off judging by the horrible representation they supplied to the employees. It was so bad that in order to receive any updates from the union directly related to the bankruptcy the now unemployed workers were told they would have to keep paying IAMAW dues. Pathetic don’t you think? If your address changed but you hadn’t kept up your dues.. the union wouldn’t even accept your new contact info. This despite paying 10s of 1000s in dues over the years. Employees should also accept some blame for poor work ethic largely supported by the Union. In short. Corrupt company, Corrupt government, Corrupt and complacent union, combined with SOME workers (not the majority) having a poor work ethic but protected by the union all added up to the loss of over 2600 quality jobs now done by far less skilled and less ethical workers. But don’t fret. I m sure the aircraft are safe.

  27. John says:

    Dave Ritchie misinformed the worker, sign an agreement with A/C to transfert the employee’s to Aveos, and sold our jobs for cheap labor in foreign countries. Tx to local 1751 executive at that time who fighted against that treason. Tx To Quebec Gov who supported the workers bring A/C in court, and won in superior court and in appeal, Shame to AIM leaders with Dave Ritchie upfront to let down the workers in Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto.

  28. Pat says:

    What about those of us who where on long term disability with a/c and where transferred to Aveos? We lost everything since Aveos did not legally have a contract with an insurance company. It was a/c paying the insurer but when Aveos closed down, so did our long term…!
    Up to today, I am still unable to work due to health conditions and have no revenu.

    Thx for reading!
    Pat

    • Poverty says:

      No doubt about it. A terrible deal for all except the higher ups collecting the big bonuses for destroying the workforce. Oh ya. The IAM made out ok by collecting our dues for years and then not spending the funds needed to prevent this travesty. If by some miracle some of the jobs return there should be no obligation to rejoin the IAM. Maintenance needs the ability to be represented by a union not dominated by baggage and ground handling

  29. Poverty says:

    I wonder why it was the Quebec and Manitoba governments that took Air Banana to court and not the union. Oh wait. I know. The union couldn’t make a profit doing so. Pathetic and hilarious that we often hear the IAM supporting the legal action (verbally only of course) just in case Air Banana is forced to rehire. Then they will attempt to get everyone to pay them dues again. So sad.

  30. Poverty says:

    In reality Air Banana did what they could get away with. It was the union and the government that let the workforce down by misrepresentation and basically allowing this to happen. It’s the Conservative M O to allow the worker to lose but what the union did/didn’t do is disgusting.

  31. Sazadi Evo says:

    Why are you all complaining about your former employer- just find yourself another job. It is a challenge to do different jobs in your life. Do not forget life is short, so explore in different areas – that is what makes us grow in many ways not only age. Meeting new people, new job every 1-2 years keeps you fresh not sad & bored from doing the same job for more than 5 years. This is the secret to a healthy life. At the end of our journey we all end up in a box making us all equal with are assets & relatives a big 0 is what we become when we die. It is a rat race while we are breathing for no reason because we do not take it with you to the other side which is heaven.

  32. Sazadi Evo says:

    Cheer up so you feel proud of having worked in the aviation industry. No matter how much money you have accumulated throughout the years – you will eventually leave your fortune behind when you die making it easy for the people inheriting your money & assets. Enjoy life forget about this place & pretend you never worked there. There is more to life than this stupid place. In life it does not matter what our title was on this planet we are all passing through on a temporary base. All the sacrifices we go through before pension family, mortgages, bills, assets. All this is useless we leave it all behind our MATERIAL world – it is good to be very simple in life (stress free) – pensioners are put in a residence – family pretends they are too busy to be with you – will maybe visit 1-2/month. When you die the family comes around for the inheritance. They did not have time for you while you were alive but time for the inheritance (the will). They are all fighting for your assets of who gets what. Enjoy life, stay stress free, enjoy your $$$ while you are still alive & kicking because someone else will definitely enjoy your fortune.

  33. Denis Dube says:

    Cheer up so you feel proud of having worked in the aviation industry. No matter how much money you have accumulated throughout the years – you will eventually leave your fortune behind when you die making it easy for the people inheriting your money & assets. Enjoy life forget about this place & pretend you never worked there. There is more to life than this stupid place. In life it does not matter what our title was on this planet we are all passing through on a temporary base. All the sacrifices we go through before pension family, mortgages, bills, assets. All this is useless we leave it all behind our MATERIAL world – it is good to be very simple in life (stress free) – pensioners are put in a residence – family pretends they are too busy to be with you – will maybe visit 1-2/month. When you die the family comes around for the inheritance. They did not have time for you while you were alive but time for the inheritance (the will). They are all fighting for your assets of who gets what. Enjoy life, stay stress free, enjoy your $$$ while you are still alive & kicking because someone else will definitely enjoy your fortune.

  34. danny kibbe says:

    AIR ISRAEL #1 MAN EH!!!

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