Labour federation cancels policy convention

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Striking workers at St. John’s International Airport held a lunchtime demonstration Thursday around the main terminal building.The members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada/Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (PSAC/UCTE) received support from Lana Payne, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, and Chris Aylward, national vice-president of PSAC, who visited them on the picket line.  — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

The Newfoundland and Lab-rador Federation of Labour (NLFL) has voted to cancel its fall policy convention that had been scheduled in St. John’s next month.

The move is to show solidarity with striking St. John’s International Airport Authority workers, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada/Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (PSAC/UCTE), who have been on strike since Sept. 11.

The workers have been without a collective agreement since 2009 and without a pay increase since 2008.

The federation says the employer is also demanding “some pretty egregious concessions, including a contracting out provision that will see the union and good airport jobs diminished over time.”

Federation president Lana Payne said, after thoughtful consideration, the NLFL executive council came to the decision that “this was the right thing to do.”

Payne said this is only the second time in the Federation’s 75-year history that it has cancelled its annual convention.

She said it would have been difficult for some of the convention’s scheduled guest speakers to travel to Gander and then on to St. John’s and back again to respect the picket line at the St. John’s airport.

“We did not feel it was appropriate to expect our guest speakers to make such a sacrifice,” said Payne, “and, in addition, we understand that some of them (at this late date) would not have had the time in their busy schedules to add a day or two to their travel.”

Gander also has limited flights, many of which are also routed through St. John’s airport, Payne added. “Of course, there was also the issue of additional travel and expense for our Labrador delegates.”

Payne said she expected the 300‐delegate and guest policy convention scheduled for Oct. 28-30 would have resulted in somewhere of the range of $300,000 in economic activity for the city.

She has informed St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe of the cancelled convention.

Organizations: NLFL, Newfoundland and Lab, Federation of Labour International Airport Authority Union of Canadian Transportation Employees PSAC/UCTE

Geographic location: Gander

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