For Immediate Release
August 22, 2017
Winnipeg, MB – Despite an attempt this weekend by the union to return to the table to end the Winnipeg Airport strike that has been in effect since July 24, the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) is doubling-down on its efforts to contract out their employees’ work.
“Our members have been clear: contracting out won’t fly. It hurts our workers and their families, and it puts the airport at risk,” said Marianne Hladun, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies Region. “The employer needs to understand that our members are prepared to go the distance in this fight.”
The contracting out of employees’ work has been the number one priority for workers since October of 2016 when negotiations first began. This presents a potential risk to the airport and the travelling public, as indicated by this weekend’s mechanical issue which led to a full evacuation of the airport and long delays for flights.
Despite its claims, Winnipeg airport is falling behind on keeping up maintenance of the terminal and the runways at the cost of great inconvenience to the travelling public.
On August 17, Nav Canada issued a notice that a major runway at the Winnipeg Airport was closed due to multiple runway lights not functioning. The centreline lighting is used to guide aircraft in safely during poor visibility conditions like that morning’s heavy fog conditions. This resulted in several diversions: Air Canada Jazz Flight 8509 from Thunder Bay, Ontario was diverted to Brandon, Manitoba; Two Perimeter Airlines flights (07 from Island Lake Airport and 03 from Cross Lake) were diverted to Kenora, Ontario; in addition, UPS flight 496 was diverted back to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dave Clark, President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE, a component of PSAC) said: “There is mounting evidence that the strike is having a real effect on airport operations. Our workers don’t want to be on strike, they want to be on the job doing what they do best. It is now in the WAA’s hands to come back with a fair deal that respects the people who know the airport and how it works instead of relying on contracting out work to the lowest bidder.”
Approximately 150 employees—including duty managers, administrative workers, various tradespersons, IT workers, airfield maintenance, and labourers—are represented by PSAC and UCTE at the Winnipeg Airport. The workers have been without a contract since June 30, 2016.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Regional Communications Officer
Note for journalists: Please see the attached screen grab from the Nav Canada website. The highlighted portion indicates that the runway in question was out of service during the morning of August 17 because of non-functioning lights.