Bill Cameron has also sent us the history of his airline career and a history of CPAL as well - 

I had the good fortune to have worked as an Agent, Radio Operator, Flight Dispatcher, Station Manager (Rome & Montreal), Regional Flight Operations Mgr (Tokyo), General Manager, Spain, General Manager, Mexico, and General Manager, North American airports - so had a finger in a lot of the airlines activities..!!

I retired from CPAL in May of 1986 – almost a year before PWA bought CPAL, and created ‘Canadia>n’ Airlines International. 

In my early years with the Airline – as a Radio Operator/Agent from 1948, and as a Flight Dispatcher from 1955 to 1966 – the Union representing the Airport and Reservations Agent (and Flight Dispatchers) was called: the “Order of Railway Telegraphers” or O.R.T.  That all came about because Canadian Pacific Airlines was created in 1942, when the Canadian Pacific Railway bought ten small regional airlines to form the new Airline.

Most of the airports were manned by one employee only in the early years (they were nearly all remote places like; Pickle Lake, ON; Dawson Creek, AB; Prince Albert, SK; etc), and in most cases required radio-telegraphic skills – as all internal operations, traffic, and administrative communications was by means of Radio Telegraphy.

There were only a few airports that had more than the one Agent on staff, e.g. Vancouver, Edmonton, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Montreal. In fact, when I was hired in 1948 as a Relief Radio Operator-Agent for the Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan District - the Company required agents have a Second Class Commercial Radio Operators Licence, as issued by the Canadian Department of Transport. The Company required operators that could send and receive Morse Code at the speed of at least 25 words per minute. And in the early 1940’s, the Railway Telegraphers Union was perhaps the logical organization to represent that group of employees.

Of course, not all airport staff or reservations employees were radio operators – but those who were not (titled as ‘Traffic Clerks’) were included in the O.R.T. for convenience. By the 1970’s all the Airport Passenger Service Agents – and the Reservations Agents of CPAL, were represented by a Union called:
“Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks” or BRAC.. Obviously there was still the Railway association involved, but the Union had re-invented itself to recognize the growing number of Airline employees, and so the name change – and the change of affiliation. For six years prior to my retirement I had the position of General Manager, North American Airports – with responsibilities for Airport Agents of BRAC.

On at least one occasion during my tenure there were contract negotiations with the representatives of the BRAC Union. That event was during the difficult last five years of CPAL, and the de-regulation of the airline industry in Canada. The result was a relatively tranquil negotiation with minor adjustments to the existing contract.  During the forty-five year existence of Canadian Pacific Airlines – 1942-1987, there was never any work stoppage or disruption to the operation of the airline because of disagreement between the Union and the Company.

In December of 1966 I was appointed as Station Manager, Fiumicino Airport, Rome, Italy – and ceased to have ORT Union Membership. All vacant positions at Company locations were advertised within the Union, and awarded to the Senior Bidder. Transfer of personal effects expenses were the responsibility of the successful bidder –unless the move was at the request of the Company. Rail transportation of the employee and family was provided on CPRail. Attached is my winning bid on the position of Flight Dispatcher at Montreal, QC in 1957 (from the position of  ‘Operator-Dispatcher’ at Winnipeg, MB)
The c.c. names on that document are Company Management, Union Representatives, and unsuccessful bidders on the position.

Unfortunately, I can provide no information about the BRAC Union after May, 1986 – and as it existed in the created Airline of ‘Canadi>n Airlines International from January 1987.

 thumb cpa senority list Here is a copy of the ORT Dispatch Seniority List – ca. 1966. My name is at No. 19. (regrettably, only three of those named are still alive)
 thumb cpa yulow bid  and a copy of the acceptance of my bid as a dispatcher.

Current Mail List

Join our Mail List

Please use the form below to sign up to our mail list.
Airline
Thank you for subscribing to The NetLetter.