Strong majority of Winnipeg airport workers vote to take strike action

Winnipeg, MB – Unionized workers employed by the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) sent a clear message to their employer last night, voting strongly in favour of taking strike action later this week should mediation talks break down.

Several meetings were held Monday evening to allow union members to vote to take strike action as early as 12:01 a.m., Saturday, July 22, if an agreement can’t be reached. That deadline can be extended, as needed, if talks remain productive.

The two sides are currently in last ditch mediation talks with the assistance of a federally-appointed mediator. While there are numerous issues still to be resolved, the clear priority is putting an end to contracting out.

“The vote result once again proves our members’ commitment to stop this employer’s practice of contracting out and to achieve a fair collective agreement,” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President, PSAC Prairies. Hladun attended the strike vote meetings and last Friday’s demonstration at the airport. “Our members have strong views about contracting out and understand first-hand how it undermines workplace safety and morale.”

Approximately 150 employees—including duty managers, administrative workers, various tradespersons, IT workers, airfield maintenance, and labourers—are represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE).

“Members sent a strong message to the WAA CEO with this vote: They want to be treated with respect and honesty,” said Teresa Eschuk, Regional Vice-President, UCTE Prairies and North. “We’re hoping we can come to a fair agreement this week, but are prepared to hit the picket line if we need to.”

PSAC represents more than 170,000 workers across Canada, including nearly 8,000 in Manitoba and 150 employees at the Winnipeg Airports Authority. UCTE is a component of PSAC, which represents workers in both the public sector—Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Parks Canada—and private sector—Airports and NAV Canada.

Media Clips:

Winnipeg Free Press: Airport employees vote to strike
MetroWinnipeg airport workers vote to strike
ChrisD: Unionized Winnipeg Airports Authority Employees Vote in Favour of Strike
Winnipeg SunWinnipeg airport union votes to strike