Talks break off again between airport, striking workers

Daniel MacEachern
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St. John's International Airport

Negotiations between the St. John’s Airport Authority and striking workers have broken off again.

Both sides had been bargaining in Ottawa and St. John’s over the past month, after federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt brought both sides back to the table. But a press release from the airport authority this morning says “exploratory talks” have broken off, with no settlement reached. The nine-month strike will continue.

“The parties agreed that proposals exchanged would not be binding on either party unless there was an agreement on all issues. This was not achieved,” says the release.

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.

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., Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

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

Geographic location: Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Lane
    June 19, 2013 - 13:38

    Given the union's intransigence, unreasonable demands and disruptive picketing in residential areas, I hope the Airport Authority sticks to its guns and breaks the union!

  • EDfromRED
    June 19, 2013 - 13:15

    I think the vast majority of people sympathize with the striking workers. With never ending stories in the news about corporate greed, mismanagement and malfeasance, it's easy too see that the powers that be begrudge every concession that makes the lives of their workers and family's better, and curse every cent paid that they can't hoard for themselves. I think most critic's are management, or those who book lick them, hoping for a few scraps to be tossed their way.

    • Steve
      June 19, 2013 - 15:28

      No one sympathizes with this union. The writing is on the these walls.

  • craig
    June 19, 2013 - 12:28

    With the length of this strike and no major interruptions at the airport it is obvious that these people are not that important. Each day they are on strike they are proving this reality.

  • Joe
    June 19, 2013 - 11:35

    I would like to know what pay raise was received by members of the Airport Authority Members during the period of 2008 to 2013? Perhaps they would like to publish this amount.

  • The general public
    June 19, 2013 - 11:31

    This union has taken their strike to our street? They have brought in portable toilets, BBQ’s on the street, blocked off driveways, brought Rottweiler’s and not to mention make noise early mornings. They seem to think they have a right to bring a strike to a quiet residential area? These guys have a mob mentality as they stomp and make noises louder when residents give them a strange look? They can still picket the airport but choose residential areas? Our kids are afraid of them and will not go out to play while they are around. Yes there is an airport authority person living on this street and they seem to think that we will take out our frustrations on this person to help their cause? They must be delirious! Business is business…. keep it out of residential areas. Their anger is now projected to residents that have no dealing with their issues or union? They have lost their morals and common decency in dealing with the general public. How can anybody trust these people to work with the general public in our airport? Time for this union to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.

  • Get real
    June 19, 2013 - 11:03

    Somewhere along the line this union has lost direction and sight of goals. Unless they smarten up I can foresee alot of these guys returning to work only to be nick picked out of their positions. How can management and the airport authority look at these employees the same? It’s a shame they can't see that they are doing themselves more harm than good.

  • Union Guy, NOT
    June 19, 2013 - 10:53

    Watch out for ramped up vandalism, sabotage of equipment, plugged toilets and overall disruption as the union reacts to being denied unreasonable demands.

  • gerry
    June 19, 2013 - 09:42

    34% in the first year?? 58% increase over 4 years?? Really? Must getting paid SFA if asking for a 58% in pay.....

    • Eli
      June 19, 2013 - 12:08

      I'm not on either side here Gerry, but keep in mind these workers havn't had a contract since 2009. They should be compensated somewhat for their losses during those four years just to keep up with the cost of living. I doubt the people running the airport denied themselves during that timeframe. I agree with the writer who recommended binding arbitration.

  • Paul
    June 19, 2013 - 09:38

    Binding arbitration is definitely what is required here. It is ridiculous that any strike has taken this long. There is no incentive for the airport authority to bargain whatsoever, so it truly has decided it won't. I wouldn't get caught up in the percentages as the amounts a person is paid.

  • Don
    June 19, 2013 - 09:24

    Let them stay out or fire them. 34 percent over 7 years looks very good tom me. That is equal to 4.87 per cent per year. Nobody else is getting that increase.

  • Marty
    June 19, 2013 - 08:44

    Something is off here. I worked for the federal Public Service for 31 years, the majority of those as a PSAC member and supported the work of the union, was even on a Local executive for a few years. Never in my career did I see such a large salary increase proposed. Let's be realistic here folks, you'll never get anywhere near this. You've been out for a long period of time and the Airport Authority doesn't appear any worse off. Nobody is prevented from entering or exiting the area, the terminal building is clean and flights are not disrupted. Let's face it, this prolonged strike is having minimal impact and many of your former dues-paying members have left for other employment. I've walked PSAC picket lines in the past, but if I was still out there I'd be asking some hard questions of my Union Executive about how thir gameplan is in our best interest by now!

  • Jack
    June 19, 2013 - 08:41

    Although airports in Canada are privatized no thanks to the Chretien and Martin governments, they are still under federal government regulations. Due to the strike's long length coupled with dwindling tourism figures, perhaps now is the time for the Harper and Dunderdale Governments to issue "back to work" legislation at St. John's International Airport, and force both sides into binding arbitration. If nothing is done to stop this strike, St. John's and especially all of Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to suffer with cancelled conventions and sporting events due to greed on the Airport Authority and Union's part. That said, time to stop this strike once and for all.