Airport workers inch closer to strike after no progress in weekend talks

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Time is running for the St. John’s airport to reach an agreement with unionized workers.

With no progress made over weekend talks — after the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Union of Canadian Transportation Employees Local 90916 served 72 hours’ strike notice Friday evening — the union could walk off the job as early as 5 a.m. Tuesday, said Wayne Fagan, union regional vice-president.

“We were held up for three days more than anything,” he said Monday afternoon. “Unless we get a tentative agreement tonight, we’ll be planning on going out at 5 a.m. in the morning for sure.”

The local — which provides operational and maintenance services, including runway clearing, building upkeep and emergency services — held a half-hour information picket at the airport at noon Monday, said Fagan, alerting passengers and visitors to the airport to the possibility of a strike, he said.

The union has been without a collective agreement since 2009, and haven’t had a wage increase in four years. On Friday, a spokeswoman for the airport authority said a strike would cause very little disruption for travellers.

“We do have a maintenance of operations agreement in place with the union,” said Marie Manning on Friday afternoon. “Because we’re considered an essential service, we will have minimal staff available to provide those essential services, in addition to the airport authority’s management team that will be focused on airport operations as well. Our intention is to keep operations as close to normal as possible, and certainly there will be enough personnel available to meet all Transport Canada regulations for safety and security.”

 

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com, Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Public Service Alliance of Canada, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees Local, Transport Canada

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