SYDNEY, NS – On February 6, 2019, members of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) Local 80807, a Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), ratified a new Collective Agreement.
UCTE Local 80807 represents 18 firefighters/maintenance crew, including trades people, and seasonal heavy equipment operators employed by the J. A. Douglas McCurdy Airport in Sydney, NS. The PSAC had been in bargaining since November 2017 and after negotiations broke down in 2018, it applied for federal conciliation which was unsuccessful. The parties then met last week with a federal mediator appointed by the Federal Minister of Labour. The parties finally reached a tentative agreement on January 31, 2019.
The details of the tentative agreement remained confidential until the members of Local 80807 had an opportunity to vote on whether to ratify the agreement or to take strike action.
Some of the major gains include improvements to vacation leave, to rates for meals and mileage while on Airport travel, to reimbursement in the cost of safety boots and to standby rates of pay. The parties also agreed on a process for jointly improving benefit plans.
New to the agreement is also a provision that provides workers with protection and legal representation if any lawsuit is brought against the Airport and its employees.
The deal also ensures that the J.A. McCurdy Douglas Airport provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that would offer workers and their families options for professional counselling and advisory services. Given the critical nature of some of the work these employees perform, members are very pleased that they were able to achieve this in this round of bargaining.
The contract, which expires on September 30, 2022, includes the following pay increases retroactive to October 1, 2017:
2017- 2.15% 2018 -2.25% 2019-2.30% 2020-2.35% and 2021-2.50%
Airport workers are especially pleased that their employer has finally recognized the critical firefighting duties they perform and has agreed with the Union’s demands to compensate them more fairly. This includes increasing the employer’s contribution to an employee’s RRSP.
“These workers provide services critical to the safety of the traveling public. We’re proud that they are finally being recognized for the important work they do,” said Chris Bussey the UCTE Regional Executive Vice-President for the Atlantic Region.
“This has been a long struggle. But with the support of people in the Sydney area and the broader labour community, these workers persevered,” said PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President Colleen Coffey.
She added, “I especially want to recognize the Union members who remained strong and delivered a unified message to the employer and the Board of Directors. This is what helped the PSAC Negotiating Team finally get these issues resolved! We call that solidarity. Bravo to UCTE local 80807!”
For further information:
Lesley Thompson, Regional Political Communications Officer, PSAC
(cell) 902.266.8589, firstname.lastname@example.org