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WestJet Pilots Issue 72-Hour Strike Notice

The union representing WestJet Airlines’ pilots has issued a 72-hour strike notice and said that they could walk off the job this Friday (May 19) ahead of the May long weekend.

The Air Line Pilots Association said in a news release that its pilots plan to begin job action on May 19, which would effectively ground all aircraft and shutdown operations at Calgary-based WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline.

WestJet has responded to the strike notice by issuing a lockout notice to the union, saying a work stoppage could occur as early as May 19 at 3 a.m. Calgary time.

The union and management remain at the bargaining table, but both sides appear to be preparing for a work stoppage leading into the May long weekend, which is typically a busy travel period.

WestJet said in a news release that any customers impacted by flight delays or cancellations in the coming days will be refunded or re-accommodated by the airline.

The union has said that unresolved issues at the bargaining table involve job protections, pay, and scheduling.

In a statement last week, privately held WestJet said that a lucrative new contract similar to those secured by some U.S. pilot groups would place the company's financial future at risk.