WestJet mechanics reject deal, ‘deeply concerning,’ says airline president

CALGARY — The union representing WestJet mechanics says its members voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative agreement with the airline.

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which represents some 670 aircraft maintenance engineers and other specialized positions at the carrier, says about 97 percent of its members voted against the deal.

WestJet says the outcome does not affect operations, but company president Diederik Pen called the outcome “deeply concerning.”

Pen says the deal would have made the employees the highest-paid aircraft mechanics in the country after “difficult” negotiations for their first collective bargaining agreement.

The union cited wages, outsourcing, hours and layoff protection as central issues in the bargaining process.

The two sides reached a tentative agreement on May 6, two days after WestJet issued a 72-hour lockout notice to mechanics following the announcement of a strike vote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press