Labour situation at Vancouver Airport worsens - delays could begin in two weeks



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - Representatives of the Public Service Alliance
of Canada (PSAC) are meeting with the Vancouver International Airport
Authority (VIAA) tomorrow in a last minute effort to stave off a possible
labour disruption at the airport, which could begin as early as September
18th.
    "The clock is ticking at YVR," says Kay Sinclair, PSAC Regional Executive
Vice-President for BC, "We've met for 16 days over the last six months and
it's down to the wire - the Airport Authority now has just over two weeks to
table an offer that meets our members' needs."
    "PSAC members working at the airport are in a legal strike position
starting September 18th," she continues, "In a last ditch effort to avoid any
disruption in service at the airport we will be returning to the table
tomorrow with the help of a mediator."
    "Despite making over 31 million dollars in revenue over expenses in the
first six months of this year, YVR has tabled a financial offer that is still
far below average wage increases in the airport sector. They claim this is due
to the state of the economy and the airline industry." says Dave Clark,
President of Local 20221 of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
(UCTE), a Component of the PSAC. "In the same economic environment every other
comparable airport in the country is able to provide reasonable wage increase
to their employees. Why can't this Airport Authority?" asks Clark.
    There are more than 340 PSAC members employed by the VIAA. These workers
provide key services such as emergency response, international arrivals
customer care, runway maintenance, airfield & approach lighting, computer
system maintenance, baggage handling, passenger loading bridge operation,
maintenance of airport equipment and administrative services.
    A diverse union of over 165,000, PSAC members working in the public and
private sectors deliver quality services to Canadians every day.

    YVR Bargaining Backgrounder

    Vancouver International Airport Authority is the not-for-profit society
that manages the Vancouver airport.
    Over 340 PSAC members are employed by the Airport Authority, in July they
gave their negotiating team a strong strike vote mandate.
    They provide key services such as emergency response, international
arrivals customer care, runway maintenance, airfield & approach lighting,
computer system maintenance, baggage handling, passenger loading bridge
operation, maintenance of airport equipment and administrative services.
    VIAA forecast $19.9 million in revenue over expenses for the first six
months of 2009, the actual revenue over expenses in this period was $31.8
million.
    The contract expired December 31st 2008 and the parties have met for 13
days since then. They also met for three days with a federal Conciliation
Officer without success. One last day has been scheduled to meet, using the
services of a federal mediator.
    If a settlement is not reached on Thursday, possible job action could
take place as early as September 18th 2009.

    
    Recent settlements in the airport sector

    -   Toronto: average increase of 3%/year over 5 years
    -   Montreal: average increase of 4%/year over 5 years
    -   Winnipeg: average increase of 3.1%/year over 4 years
    -   Edmonton: average increase of 4.3%/year over 4 years
    -   Ottawa: average increase of 4%/year over 4 years
    

    Other non-monetary items

    Flexible hours: a proposal to allow employees to work on a flexible
schedule, with consideration for operational requirements. Similar programs
are in effect at Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Halifax airports.
This would come at no cost to the employer.
    A memorandum of understanding that would have the parties meet to discuss
retirement options.





For further information:

For further information: Kay Sinclair, PSAC Regional Executive Vice
President, BC, Cell: (604) 340-4211, Office (604) 430-5631; James Little, PSAC
Regional Representative, Cell: (250) 893-1051, Office: (250) 953-1050


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