Locked-out workers to leaflet travellers at Edmonton International Airport

UFCW 401 president Douglas O'Halloran to join protest

EDMONTON, May 3 /CNW/ - Dozens of locked-out workers and supporters will be at Edmonton International Airport today, telling travellers about the poor conditions at their workplace.

"Air Canada and Air Transat customers need to know what is happening at the company where their in-flight meals are made," says Douglas O'Halloran, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401, which represents about 60 workers at Gate Gourmet in Edmonton. The workers will be leafletting outside the Air Canada and Air Transat doors at the airport from noon to 2 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 3.

The employees at Gate Gourmet were locked out more than two weeks ago after rejecting the company's offer of a new contract that would freeze wages for three years. They were told to accept the offer or face the closure of the facility where they work.

"The company's behaviour has been illogical and unreasonable," says O'Halloran. "Gate Gourmet's Edmonton workers are paid less than their employees in other Canadian locations. They were seeking only small raises - barely enough to keep up with the increasing cost of living."

Many of the Gate Gourmet employees have worked at the Edmonton facility for decades and have made concessions in the past when economic times were difficult. However, the Edmonton, Alberta and Canadian economies are getting stronger and the airline industry is picking up steam. In March, Gate Gourmet's major customer (Air Canada) reported fourth-quarter profits of $134 million, compared with a loss of $56 million a year ago. For the 2010 fiscal year, it had a net profit of $107 million, compared to a loss of $24 million in the previous year. Charter airlines are equally optimistic about the future, with Alberta operators adding new aircraft and staff to meet growing demand.

"It's hard to fathom why Gate Gourmet is taking this hardball approach and is threatening to close the Edmonton facility, when these employees have asked for so little and have a long history loyalty and hard work," says O'Halloran.

"It's important that Air Canada and Air Transat customers know that the workers who normally make their in-flight meals have been locked out and forced to walk the picket line. Maybe those customers will think twice about flying with Air Canada and Air Transat on their next trip."

Time: Noon - 2 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 3rd.

SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour

For further information:

Contact: Douglas O'Halloran, president UFCW 401, 403-861-2000. He will be leafleting with locked out Gate Gourmet workers.

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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