Yup, it's always the other guys fault for not giving me what I FELT I was entitled to. This question is directed at both sides of the conflict. Did anyone put forward a zero cost solution to the opposing side? If this wasn't about money, why not?
I would agree that money was the main driving force. But it wasn't just the "money" to which you refer, namely money for the over age-60 pilots. It was also about another "money." Money for the pilots who would be temporarily adversely affected by the potential adverse impact on their career progression.
Let me refresh your memory of some of the points that I asserted in posts that I made as early as 2006.
1. Prior to 1978, when the Canadian Human Rights Act
was enacted, there was no "contract," implied or otherwise, foisted upon anyone hired, including myself, in the form of a quid pro quo
, committing them to retire at age 60. If the age restriction changed after they were hired, it was changed, pure and simple, just like when other elements in the environment changed, such as the privatization of Air Canada, the deregulation of the airline industry, and the bankruptcy of many of Air Canada's competitors, none of which could be predicted with any degree of accuracy;
2. The age 60 restriction, when introduced in the Canadian Human Rights Act
in 1978, was conditional
on age 60 being the "normal age of retirement" for individuals engaged in similar work. Conditional!
The condition had to be met in order for mandatory retirement to apply. It was not absolute
. If the condition was not met, mandatory retirement was illegal, regardless of the collective agreement.
3. As of 2006, Air Canada was the only airline in Canada still imposing mandatory retirement of pilots at age 60--in other words, the normal age of retirement even then was likely not 60; the condition
provision of the law was not satisfied. As early as 2006, what Air Canada pilots "wanted," referendum or no referendum, was irrelevant to the law. The legal issue was whether or not the exemption was satisfied. ACPA and the employer's contractual provision forcing retirement at age 60 was valid only if the legal pre-condition was met. That was the law.
4. By 2006, every jurisdiction in Canada, save for the federal jurisdiction, had repealed its mandatory retirement exemption; even the federal government had made several attempts over the course of the previous 10 years to repeal the exemption, but all the proposals failed for reasons other than those related to the merits of the issue. For example, some bills died on the Order paper when elections were called, and the issue didn't get back to the top of the heap for some time afterwards, with the new governments.
So it was no leap of faith
, then, to count the existing federal legislation as having a very tenuous future indeed
The issue, therefore, was not "if," but "when?" and given "when," the logical next question was, "How should we deal with it?"
5. "How should a union respond?" We needed to ask ourselves strategically as a group, I argued, "What should be our long-term best course of action?" It didn't take a genius to see that given the inevitable
impending change, we needed a strategy to not only manage
the change to the benefit of all pilots, but to avail ourselves of a large portion of the huge windfall
ultimately to be bestowed upon the employer, should the change not be embraced and managed properly by the union.
6. However, instead of acting strategically, ACPA sub-delegated its management of the issue to the members themselves in the form of a referendum for the members, and, in my view, without providing a proper legal and economic opinion to guide the members as to the consequences of the two mutually exclusive alternatives--embrace or oppose the proposition.
The result, in my view, was the union failing to provide leadership as to the potential for benefiting from the inevitable change, then choosing a path that divided
its own members against each other, engaging in litigation that cost the Association hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in legal fees, and that then left the union with a huge potential financial liability
(that still exists), if, at the end of the day, it lost its case.
You will note that I have said nothing in this post about the motivation of members of the Fly Past 60 Coalition. For myself, forced out six years ago, flying was my life. My legal work was my insurance policy to protect against the loss of my licence, but flying was my life. I learned to fly in Air Cadets at age 16 and simply wanted to keep working a few more years with the great group of people that I had been associated with for all of my professional life, including the two years that I represented the pilots as ACPA Chair facing off in negotiations directly across the table from Robert Milton and Calin Rovinescu.
Yes, I would have continued to draw a large salary, and yes, I would have impeded the career progression of others slightly by not leaving at age 60.
But my point was simply this. That was going to happen anyway, the only issue was when
As it turned out, it was 2012, not 2006 or 2009, and I had nothing to do with the government's final success in getting the change into law.
One final thing. Please don't do what so many other have done, namely, accuse me or any of the other members of the Coalition pursuing this valid legal issue through due legal process, of greed
, expressly or impliedly. Personal economic interest was obviously also an interest shared by those who voted to oppose changes to the age 60 restriction.
In fact, I have spent the last ten years of my life carrying this torch without charging any legal fees for my work, at great opportunity cost to myself. There have been many legal jobs, attractive both professionally and financially, for which I am eminently qualified and that I would have loved to have taken advantage of, but was unable to do so, because of my commitment to my fellow pilots to see this issue through to finality, a commitment that is unwavering.
It is the issue
that drives this motivation, not any potential economic benefit to be obtained, that keeps me and the other pilots supporting this issue steadfastly seeking finality to the questions in issue.