© — Telegram file photo
St. John's International Airport
Talks between striking airport workers and the St. John’s Aiport Authority resumed this week, but neither side is commenting on progress being made.
Negotiations have been ongoing in Ottawa all week after Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt brought both sides back to the table.
About 85 members of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees Local 90916 — members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada who handle runway clearing; building and equipment upkeep; fire, security and emergency services; and administrative and billing services — have been on strike since Sept. 11, 2012.
The union has been without a pay raise since 2008 and without a collective bargaining agreement since 2009.
It has asked for a new four-year contract with a 34 per cent increase in the first year, followed by 5.75 per cent raises in each of the following three years, amounting to a 58 per cent increase over four years. The airport authority has offered 34 per cent over seven years.
The most recent round of negotiations broke off in early March after five days at the table, with each side accusing the other of being unwilling to negotiate.
With St. John’s on the cusp of tourist season, the union has turned up the pressure by picketing outside the homes of airport authority board members and sending letters to members of the St. John’s Board of Trade, urging them to speak to Board of Trade chairman Denis Mahoney, who is also the chief negotiator for the airport authority in contract talks.
Local labour leaders have rallied around the striking workers,
but Cathy Duke, CEO of Destination St. John’s, told The Canadian Press earlier this month the strike is hurting St. John’s convention business.