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Air Canada apologizes to flight attendants for banning poppies

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Air Canada apologizes to flight attendants for banning poppies

Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 15:32

Air Canada apologizes to flight attendants for banning poppies


The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 07, 2016 12:33PM EST
Last updated Monday, Nov. 07, 2016 1:00PM EST

Air Canada is apologizing to its flight attendants after initially barring them from wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

Paul Simas, a flight attendant who is also a Canadian Forces reservist, said he heard about the policy on Monday after another flight attendant was told by a manager to remove her poppy. He said many flight attendants were upset about the decision and voiced their concerns to the company.

“I’m glad that they reversed the policy, however, I’m upset that we even had to complain about it,” Mr. Simas said in an interview. “It’s demoralizing.”

Mr. Simas said to him the poppy is “a symbol of sacrifice, of what our people did for our country,” and that he regularly serves veterans on flights.

A spokesman for Air Canada confirmed the uniform policy was changed.

“While we do have regulations on non-service pins to maintain a consistent uniform look, we have clarified for our in-flight crews that they can wear a poppy in uniform and do so proudly,” spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.

Air Canada’s vice-president of in-flight service told employees early Monday on an internal website that they were not allowed to wear poppies at work.

“I strongly encourage anyone who wants to wear a poppy to observe and respect Remembrance Day to do so when not in uniform,” Renee Smith-Valade wrote to employees, according to a note obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Ms. Smith-Valade said the company chose to show its “deep respect” for veterans with onboard announcements on all worldwide flights.

“Our uniform policy is clear and we ask you to respect it,” Ms. Smith-Valade wrote. She said employees were to wear a language pin and “maximum of one other company authorized pin on the right lapel of the jacket,” such as an award of excellence pin, a service pin or a union pin.

“Thank you for understanding and recognizing we’re supportive of this national day in a significant corporate way,” she wrote.

Later Monday, however, Ms. Smith-Valade told employees the policy had been reversed and an official bulletin would be released shortly.

“The decision has indeed been reconsidered and the wearing of poppies is supported. My apologies for the angst this has caused for some,” Ms. Smith-Valade wrote on the website.

“For those who choose to do so please wear your poppies while in uniform with pride.”

Michel Cournoyer, president of the Air Canada wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees representing 8,000 flight attendants, said the incident is a result of poor decision-making at the top.

“We’re glad that this ridiculous decision has been reconsidered,” he said.

“We hope in the future that we’ll be actually involved in some of these spontaneous decisions before they are enacted.”


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