Air Canada employees grounded after Facebook comments



TORONTO - Commenting about their employer on Facebook has grounded eight Air Canada employees, according to their union.

Eight of the airline's workers were suspended without pay, pending termination, on Monday as a result of alleged Facebook comments, said union spokesman Boyd Richardson.

The employees, who are members IAMAW, Local 140, range in age from 20 to 50 and are waiting for their cases to go to arbitration, he said Tuesday.

"Right now, I think they're still in shock," he said.

The employees are mostly station attendants and customer service agents. One is a maintenance facility worker.

Richardson said the majority of the employees do not dispute the existence of the comments, which were made in a closed Facebook group, with one comment related to federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick suggested the matter relates to an illegal job action last year.

"There has been an ongoing investigation over the past year with respect to illegal work action last March by certain ground handling employees at Toronto Pearson Airport," he said.

When asked if any of the workers were involved in last year's wildcat strike, Richardson said he wouldn't know because "nobody was ever disciplined for it."

The March 24, 2012 walkout lasted more than 12 hours and grounded over 200 flights. Over 100 Air Canada ground workers walked off the job to support colleagues suspended for allegedly heckling Raitt after her flight landed.

The alleged Facebook comments date from last April to November. Richardson said he is waiting to see the comments and review the allegations with legal counsel.

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