St. John’s Airport turns its back on negotiations

ST. JOHN’S, NL – After 5 days of negotiations and a 5-day recess, the St. John’s Airport Authority is refusing to negotiate with striking workers to end a six-month strike. Unfortunately, early on Friday, March 1, 2013, the federal mediator advised that he would not bring the parties back to the table and is standing down the process. It is now obvious to the PSAC that this employer is not prepared to negotiate an end to this labour dispute, but wants to continue trying to impose its demands on workers.

“On February 26 we advised the mediator that PSAC’s negotiating team is ready to return to mediation and continue the negotiations which were started two weeks ago,” says Jeannie Baldwin, Regional Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.  “We have worked hard since talks resumed to try to accommodate this employer’s demands, but we cannot be expected to do all the work.”

The union now calls on St. John’s Airport CEO Keith Collins to seek a new mandate from his Board of Directors and return to the table immediately to negotiate with the PSAC and settle the strike.

“We will not negotiate with ourselves,” says Baldwin.

The union will continue to fight for a fair and equitable agreement for current and future workers. 

“We are committed to achieving a tentative agreement which both sides can recommend to their principals.  We are also committed to escalating the strike if necessary. It’s the employer’s choice which route we pursue,” says negotiating team member Chris Bussey. “Our members’ resolve is higher than ever to achieve a fair contract.”

The union will ramp up its strike activity and continue to leverage support from its allies in the community.

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. 

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 Thompson, Communications Officer, PSAC, 902-471-6201, or Chris Bussey, UCTE Local 90916, 709-727-7201

March 2, 2013