A possible labour disruption could cause delays for travelers arriving or departing from Vancouver airport in the near future, as negotiations between the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)/Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) Local 20221, representing two bargaining units at the airport, and their employers has slowed down.
Approximately 70 workers who fuel jet aircraft at YVR will be in a legal strike position on July 28th, while another 300 workers employed directly by the Airport Authority are meeting with a federal Conciliation Officer next week, in an effort to achieve a negotiated settlement.
“PSAC represents workers at GlobeGround Fuel Services as well as YVR’s own employees.” explains Bob Jackson, PSAC Regional Executive for BC, “We’ve been negotiating in good faith with both employers and still hope to achieve negotiated agreements, but both GlobeGround and YVR have dug in and are refusing to move on many of our outstanding issues.”
“Despite a conciliation meeting held earlier this month, GlobeGround is refusing to meaningfully address our issues, including protection from moving to split-shift schedules. The employer also continues to insist on the removal of leave provisions for critical illness in the family from our Collective Agreement.” continues Jackson, “Our members voted 100% to take strike action, if necessary, and this could come as soon as July 28th. They obviously feel very strongly about these work-life balance issues and are united in their support of our position and their Bargaining Team.”
Another group of PSAC members who are employed directly by YVR provide key services such as emergency response, international arrivals customer care, runway maintenance, airfield & approach lighting, baggage handling, passenger loading operations, maintenance and administrative services at the airport.
Key bargaining issues for this group include an option to work flexible hours and the addition of language that provides protection from contracting out to the Collective Agreement. The employer has also tabled language that weakens apprenticeship provisions in the Collective Agreement and wants to create a two-tier wage system by creating a new class of “seasonal” workers.
“We’ll be meeting with a Conciliation Officer beginning July 16th.” says Dave Clark, Regional Vice-President of the UCTE, a Component of the PSAC, “Our YVR Bargaining Team is hopeful conciliation will result in a negotiated agreement, but members have been very clear they are not willing to move on our demands around job security and work-life balance, and are opposed to the creation of a two-tiered wage structure and the watering down of the existing trades ticketing system”
“The clock is ticking at the airport.” Clark sums up.