The head of Canada's second-largest passenger airline has written a letter to employees slamming the motivation of unions trying to organize workers.
WestJet pesident and CEO Gregg Saretsky alleged that unions "are opportunistically trying to grow their businesses by targeting WestJetters".
"Because let's be clear—unions are a business," Saretsky declared. "They increase their revenue by recruiting new members, and WestJet represents an opportunity to significantly increase their profits."
According to WestJet's most recent management information circular, Saretsky collected nearly $4.3 million in compensation in 2016.
The national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Mark Hancock, told Canadian Press that Saretsky is "trying to intimidate workers".
In May nearly two-thirds of WestJet pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association International.
CUPE is trying to organize WestJet flight attendants; Unifor is hoping to unionize WestJet customer-service workers; and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers would like to certify other WestJet employees.
According to Saretsky, union dues support a "union bureaucracy", which tries to organize other companies.
"They get nearly $17 million of your money, or $425 million of your money over a 25-year career," he wrote. "What do you get? That's the question we urge you to ask yourselves. Isn't it better to get a cheque than a bill?"
In an open letter to WestJetters, Hancock claimed that there have been "more than a few attempts to mislead and misinform you and your colleagues in order to discredit CUPE".
"Locals at CUPE have full local autonomy, and to me that’s what makes our union so strong," Hancock stated. "Locals decide their structure, their dues, their bylaws, their internal process, and whether they affiliate to their Provincial Divisions, sectors, and councils. The CUPE Constitution provides the basic rules that locals need to follow but the rest is up to the membership to decide."