Wasaya Airlines Pilots Reach Tentative Agreement


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Wasaya Airlines Pilots Reach Tentative Agreement

Mike Mitchell

August 23, 2010 - The Wasaya pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), announced that they have reached a tentative contract agreement with their management. Should it be ratified by the entire pilot group, the resulting new contract would be the first for Wasaya pilots.

Wasaya Airways is domestic airline based in Northern Ontario. To date, its main hubs are at the Thunder Bay International Airport and Sioux Lookout Airport, however, it also offers a charter service out of a base in Red Lake, a charter and limited scheduled service out of a base in Pickle Lake, and recently opened a new charter service base in Timmins.


Wasaya Airways provides the majority of airlift to 25 First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario. The new two-year agreement provides pay increases, establishes a seniority system, and implements the first sick bank for the pilots. The agreement is scheduled to be put before the pilot group for a vote in the coming weeks.

“This agreement represents not only a step forward for our pilot group in terms of pay and job security,” said Capt. Jeff Braun, head of the Wasaya unit of ALPA, “but also a leap forward in our relationship with our management. I hope that pilots and management will continue to work together to improve and expand Wasaya Airways LP.”

Wasaya pilots joined ALPA on January 16, 2008, and served Notice to Bargain on February 1, 2008, for a collective agreement with the company. In, February, the parties jointly requested assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). FMCS appointed Federal Conciliation Officer Ms. Jennifer Webster. With Ms. Webster’s assistance, the parties reached a tentative agreement on Friday, August 13, 2010.

“Wasaya pilots throughout this process had the full support of their ALPA brothers and sisters,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “They had access to every resource their union could provide. This agreement demonstrates not only the tenacity of Wasaya pilots, but also the power that unions can have in improving careers and quality-of-life for pilots and workers.”

In 2003, Wasaya Airways bought out the rights to serve remote First Nations Communities from Bearskin Airlines. The airline also supplies food, clothing, hardware and other various supplies to 25 remote communities in Ontario.

Established in 1989, the name "Wasaya" comes from the Oji-Cree language, which means "it is bright" in English, in reference to the brightness of the rising Sun. The airline has grown over the years starting off as a floatplane operation to now a charter and scheduled passenger service airline. Their in-flight magazine Sagatay is published in conjunction with Wawatay Native Communications Society.


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