Unions launch campaign calling on the Canadian government to ensure the immediate return of Canadians wrongfully imprisoned in the Dominican Republic

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The International Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Unifor are launching a public campaign calling on the Government of Canada to ensure the safe return of five Canadians who were arbitrarily imprisoned in the Dominican Republic after reporting a crime in which they were not involved.

For more than 40 days, a Canadian crew – including two CUPE members, an ALPA member and a Unifor member – were arbitrarily detained, threatened and prosecuted after discovering and reporting 200 kg of narcotics to police.

“It is completely unacceptable that our members have been thrown in jail for doing their job and conscientiously reporting a crime,” said Captain Tim Perry, President of ALPA Canada. “We urge the Canadian government to take serious action and help bring our crew home.”

Together, the three unions represent more than 90,000 airline workers. Collectively, the unions are warning all travelers and employees of the risks associated with traveling to the Dominican Republic.

“The Canadian government must do everything in its power to get the Pivot Airlines crew home safely,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President of Unifor. “Our member is a part-time worker, who had the misfortune to become entangled in a dangerous situation, after finding and reporting illegal drugs on board. Our union joins his family and friends in their concern for his safety. We need the federal government to intervene immediately.

Although there is no evidence linking them to a crime, the Dominican Republic’s prosecutor is currently seeking to keep the five Canadians in prison for more than twelve months.

“We are gravely concerned about our members and all crew, who have been held captive in extremely difficult conditions,” said Wesley Lesosky, president of CUPE’s airline division. “The fact is that Canadian lives are at risk in the Dominican Republic. We need our government to act.

ALPA, CUPE and Unifor invite members to join the call by writing to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and urging her to call for the safe and immediate release of the crew.

Join the campaign:

About Unifor

Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union, representing 315,000 workers in all major sectors of the economy. The union defends all workers and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

About CUPE

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union, with 700,000 members across the country, including 15,000 members in the airline industry.

About ALPA

ALPA represents and defends more than 62,000 pilots at 38 US and Canadian airlines, making it the largest union of airline pilots in the world. ALPA provides three essential services to its members: safety, security and assistance to airline pilots; representation; and advocacy. Through an unbiased and fact-based assessment of airline safety and security issues, ALPA strives to ensure the safety of the airline industry. ALPA represents pilots’ views to decision-makers, including Parliament and federal agencies, and ALPA’s pilot groups have negotiated hundreds of contracts with airlines.