Canada Industrial Relations Board unanimously dismisses Airport CEO accusations of bad faith bargaining

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Canada Industrial Relations Board has dismissed a complaint by the St. John’s Airport accusing the union representing striking workers of bargaining in bad faith.  The decision released yesterday maintains that the Public Service Alliance of Canada has thoroughly upheld its responsibilities as outlined in section 50(a) of the Canada Labour Code. The decision was issued unanimously by a three person panel.

The decision states, “In the instant case, the Board is not persuaded that there is any merit to the employer’s allegations (…).” It also says, “The Board can find nothing in the union’s conduct to date that would support a finding that it is not bargaining in good faith or making every effort to conclude a collective agreement.” A copy of the full decision is attached.

The union believes the Employer was ill-advised when, during the December 18, 2012, mediation, it decided to maintain its mandate, withdraw from bargaining and attempt to publicly discredit PSAC’s legitimate efforts to obtain a collective agreement.

This ruling confirms that the union has engaged in collective bargaining with a view to respecting process and achieving a contract. It also exposes the employer’s attempts to paint the union in a negative light and interfere with the bargaining process.

“Accusations of bad faith bargaining by the employer have mislead the public and interfered with the mediation process,” says Jeannie Baldwin, PSAC Atlantic Regional Executive Vice-President.  “We don’t want a prolonged strike. We want a fair contract.”

The union’s objectives have been clear throughout this strike – maintaining protections around job security and contracting out, and achieving wage parity with workers at HalifaxAirport.  The union will continue to bargain for a fair and equitable agreement for current and future workers.

Backed by the CIRB decision, Baldwinsays it is now time for the Board of Directors of St. John’s Airport to act swiftly.  PSAC calls on the CEO and his negotiating team to get back to the table with a new mandate to resolve this strike and to get the airport operating at 100% efficiency throughout the balance of the winter. 

“Our bargaining committee has conducted itself with integrity at the table and in our public messaging.  We ask for the same from this employer,“ says Baldwin.

Members at the St. John’sAirport, UCTE Local 90916 have been on strike since September 11, 2012.  They provide operational services, including runway clearing, buildings and equipment upkeep, fire, security and emergency services, as well as administrative and billing services.  All duties outlined in the Essential Services Agreement are being carried out to ensure the safety of the traveling public.   

These employees are proud members of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a national union with over 180,000 members.  

Contact Lesley Thomson, Communications Officer, PSAC, 902-471-6201
February 5, 2012