Reaching new heights

Soon To Be the NEWEST pilot union in Canada

February 22 UPW Update

 Thank you to all of you who signed a card for the Pilots’ Advocacy Society (United Pilots of Westjet), and also to those who contributed financially to this endeavour.  Since we are entirely self-funded, we simply could not have proceeded without your support. 

The card drive is now over and the window has closed for application to the C.I.R.B. to represent Westjet pilots as a bargaining unit. Unfortunately we have not met the minimum number required to trigger a vote for certification (50%).  While this is disappointing, we have laid a strong, principled foundation for our pilot group, should you wish to avail yourselves of it.  The UPW website will remain running, since we may run another card drive in the future when the next window for application to the C.I.R.B. opens, provided that sufficient support exists.

Now that the 2021 certification window has closed, its a good time to consider our successes and any lessons learned. Above all, it should be clear to every WestJet Pilot that we are not “stuck” with our current union.  An opportunity was identified, and a democratic alternative built and presented.  The legal and organizational steps were completed, requiring only that a majority to pilots to sign cards to trigger a certification vote.   

The entire platform, from funding, to democratic principles, to constitution and bylaws was profoundly approved by those who took the time to read, understand and ask questions. Thank you especially to those who provided suggestions and ideas.  The final product is all the better for your input.  The UPW remains justifiably proud of the near-universal endorsement given by WestJet pilots to each concept and principle presented and codified.

We clearly faced some challenges in communicating our message. Covid 19 prevented the normal interface between our pilots to a great degree. Furthermore, moral choices were made by us which had some impact:  the entire purpose of the UPW was solely to improve the lives of our pilots rather than simply gaining certification (and dues) for any other purpose. Any process, system or message had to serve this purpose.

The UPW Steering Committee undertook the task of developing and presenting a viable alternative to our current situation.  We depended heavily on the majority of disenfranchised WestJet pilots to share the message that an alternative exists and to direct others to it.  We deem that this threshold of personal investment by our pilots is the minimum required to bring about the change you so clearly desire. 

We, the UPW Steering Committee have painstakingly conceived, built and bought a vehicle for you, the pilots of WestJet.  It can take you to wherever you wish to go, in control of all of your funding, your constitution, and your relationships with your fellow pilots, your Company, and the industry.  If you truly endeavour to get off of your present trajectory, contact us though this website, and most importantly, bring others so that they will also know that there is a real alternative.

Certified Union with experienced leaders

Hard WorkING

We are working toward a better union for all WestJet and Swoop pilots

Welcome to the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) and your future!

We would like to engage you in an idea. We hope you will carefully consider the information presented, as it is surely time to reflect on our situation and think creatively about a more effective way ahead. Once you reflect upon the questions before us you may find as we do, that the best and most profound ideas are the simplest.

We believe that most of our pilots recognize that our recent trajectory, even before covid, has not been satisfactory. We hope that after examining our current situation and the systemic forces which prevent changing it for the better, you will recognize as we do, that the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) is the best way ahead for WestJet and Swoop pilots. We welcome your consideration, your ideas, and ultimately your participation.

What the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) is proposing:

The United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) are committed to establishing a Certified Union alternative under Part 1 of the Canada Labour Code. An alternative with experienced leaders that will initially certify the pilot group under the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) banner. Leaders that have a desire to serve the members needs and with your support, to build the most effective pilot union possible.  Under the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW), you will have the ability to elect all the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) Executives you wish to represent this pilot group. No one will hold Executive positions without first being elected by you.

Potential members

Moving towards a safer future together


United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) is committed to continuous improvement in matters of safety and security for our pilot group.  We will have experienced aviation legal representatives in the event we ever have an incident or accident.  We will likewise ensure that we have top-quality legal and industrial representation to support our contract, grievance, and discipline processes.

Working better together

Transparent Open and
Honest Communication

United Pilots of WestJet B787 HUD sunset
United Pilots of WestJet jet turbine blades

Who are we?

Quite simply, we will soon be a trade union comprised of WestJet and Swoop pilots once our application is approved. Legally we will exist under the same rules as our current union, defined under Part 1 of the Canada Labour Code and seek to represent the pilots of WestJet and Swoop in order to focus exclusively on furthering our collective interests through direct and focused representation. Much like the Air Canada Pilots Association or the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. 

In character we are unique. Our history has been written by each of you and the collective breadth of experience within our pilot group is vast and varied. Within the ranks of our steering group alone we have many decades of leadership and involvement in over a half-dozen unions and pilot associations.

We are not:

  • A large conglomerate of employees all with different interests
  • An organization headquartered outside of Canada
  • An employee association with connections to management

And will not:

  • Be an organization that is characterized by top-down management styles and communications
  • Send nearly 2% of your salary south of the border
  • Charge dues on overtime, our cash equivalent payment, profit share or performance bonuses
  • Avoid accountability by keeping survey results secret or refusing to answer questions

Can we change unions?

Yes, we can. The Canada Labour Code addresses the need for employees to have a democratic choice for their union representation. The Code provides for the replacement of a union at certain intervals, generally near the end of an existing collective agreement. In our case, the opportunity exists during the last three months of 2021 with another opportunity occurring during the last three months of 2022. After that, the next opportunity will not likely occur until nearing the expiry of the next collective agreement. This is your time to exercise your democratic right – the right to choose your union representation going forward

What will not change:

The legal framework under which we operate will remain the same – Part 1 of the Canada Labour Code. The difference is that the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) intends to become your certified bargaining agent which is the union that represents you.

Benefits and/or liabilities which currently exist under the Canada Labour Code will remain. Bargaining rights, the right to representation, grievance processes, access to arbitration, and dues collection will not change, except dues will drop by roughly half of your current cost, as specified in our constitution. 

The current collective agreement will remain in force until a new one is negotiated and ratified by our pilots or arbitrated. The United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) will inherit the right to enforce, modify, amend and re-negotiate our collective agreement in accordance with the Canada Labour Code. If another concessionary MOA is negotiated prior to the United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) being certified as the bargaining agent, those terms will remain in place as part of the current collective agreement. 

How will we be different?

  • Our own constitution with a focus on accountability, amendable by WestJet and Swoop pilots
  • Open and honest communications
  • Transparency
  • Vigilance
  • No interim changes to compensation without the consent of the pilot group (PILOTS WILL VOTE on MOA’s)
  • Timely responses to questions and concerns
  • Survey results that will be released to the members when appropriate
  • Lower dues – 1.25% of base salary with all of the funds staying in-house
  • Executives elected and recalled by members – not by other Executives
  • Timely and transparent communications

WestJet and Swoop

We have an opportunity to change the course of our careers for the better. The United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) will be committed to protecting the quality and security of your jobs and your retirement.  The United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) believe that under an independent in-house union, pilots will benefit in many ways, most notably:
  • Accessible UPW Executives with access to any and all support needed by our pilot group
  • A constitutionally mandated structure insuring accountability to its members
  • Fair value for your hard-earned dues dollars
The United Pilots of WestJet (UPW) will move our pilots toward a secure future together, as one unified pilot group at WestJet and Swoop. We look forward to gaining your support and making this a reality.