Commissionaires win fight for labour standards

HALIFAX, NS – The Public Service Alliance of Canada is proud to announce a major win for past and present members of PSAC Local 85100 employed by Commissionaires Nova Scotia at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. 

On December 18 and 19, 2012, payment will be issued to 400 former and current commissionaires, and to the estates of 12 deceased, to compensate for lost over-time pay and statutory holidays denied by their employer despite two federal court rulings. 

“The Public Service Alliance of Canada is proud to have fought all the way to the Federal Court of Appeal to win this battle,” said Jeannie Baldwin, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President.  “This is a major victory for workers everywhere and a perfect example of the power of unionized workers to challenge injustice.” 

Prior to 2010, Commissionaires Nova Scotia applied provincial standards for over-time and statutory holidays to the federally regulated airport workers.  In November 2008, some 40 employees filed complaints with Labour Canada alleging violations under the Part III of the Canada Labour Code.  The complaint of now-retired commissionaire David Crouse was used as the test case. Two federal court rulings determined that Commissionaires Nova Scotia must retroactively abide by the minimum standards of the Canada Labour Code.  The employer refused to do so until the last round of collective bargaining when it finally relented to the Federal Court decision.  That contract came into effect on May 1, 2012.

“Today is a reminder to all employers that they simply cannot ignore minimum labour standards,” says Miles States, proud President of PSAC Local 85100.

Commissionaires will be compensated from the date of certification, a total pay out of some half a million dollars.  David Crouse was the first to receive his cheque this morning at the Holiday Inn Express in Enfield in the company of a crowd his fellow union members.

Many commissionaires are veterans (military, police and RCMP) or members of their families. For many, this is their sole source of income and some earn as little as $12.05/hr.  With the holiday season upon us, this victory comes at a good time for these workers.

Commissionaires at Halifax Stanfield International Airport are proud members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a national union with over 180,000 members.

Contact Lesley Thompson, Communications Officer, PSAC, 902-471-6201