Pei Vanden Brink (left) and Lukas Eichel-Fominov (right), business agents with Teamsters Local Union 362, at Grande Prairie Airport.
Grande Prairie, AB, May 11, 2019 – In a three-to-one vote on Thursday, airport screeners at the Grande Prairie Airport turned down representation from the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC). The CLAC was attempting to raid the bargaining unit.
“We managed to reassure the membership that they were better off with the Teamsters than with the CLAC,” said Lukas Eichel-Fominov, a business agent with Teamsters Local Union 362 assigned to Grand Prairie Airport.
The CLAC has a reputation for reaching substandard agreements with employers. In one case, the CLAC had negotiated an agreement which stated that current wage rates would be reduced by 20% for time worked in excess of 40 hours a week.
In another case, they proposed wage rates in a first collective agreement that were $1.25 per hour less than what any employee in the bargaining unit was currently earning. In yet another case, they attempted to ratify an agreement that did not include a wage schedule.
These examples come from a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which also found that the CLAC had regularly negotiated collective agreements that were below prevailing provincial standards.
With the CLAC raid defeated in Grande Prairie, the Teamsters are turning their attention to reaching a new collective agreement for the airport screeners. Main issues include more flexibility for part-time workers, scheduling, vacation time, and wages.
“Wages are the biggest issue at this airport, given the high cost of living in Grand Prairie,” explained Pei Vanden Brink with Teamsters Local Union 362, who has over eight years’ experience at the airport as an airport screener, trainer and shop steward.
Teamsters represent airport screeners at most airports in Alberta and at many airports in the rest of Canada. The union has all the necessary resources and experience to ensure airport screeners get the possible agreement.
“We’ll be working hard to tackle these issue and others, because airport screeners deserve nothing less than to be treated fairly and with dignity,” added Vanden Brink.
Teamsters Canada represents 125,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
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