TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - The president of the union representing security
screeners at Pearson International Airport today accused the Canada Industrial
Relations Board (CIRB) of riding roughshod over his members by disregarding
accusations of widespread fraud and intimidation in a ruling. The ruling
ordered a certification vote sought by another union.
The accusation came in a letter to members from Ed Hawrysh, president of
Teamster Local 847, that represents nearly 1,400 employees at Pearson, the
Toronto Island Airport and the Buttonville Airport.
The Canadian Airport Workers Union (CAWU), founded in September 2007, is
making a second attempt to replace the Teamster local as the bargaining agent
with the security company Garda. It failed in 2007 due to lack of support.
"The Teamsters will not let the CAWU ride roughshod over its members and
Teamsters will not let the CIRB disregard the rights of Local 847," Hawrysh
said in the letter.
A union seeking to displace another union needs applications signed and
fees of at least $5 from fifty per cent of employees to force a certification
vote. The Teamsters presented evidence that at least 52 of the cards presented
by the CAWU were fraudulent and that intimidation took place.
However, in a ruling on January 30, 2009, the CIRB chose to disregard the
bogus applications and ordered a vote by employees to be held as soon as
possible, saying it had the power to do so despite stating in the ruling that
the "standard required for membership evidence in such cases is an extremely
The CIRB also disregarded its own five-day deadline for a response to its
initial ruling from the Teamsters and the company. It issued the vote order on
January 30, only two days after its initial ruling.
The Teamster local is appealing the CIRB ruling in Federal Court.
Last week, Ken Lawenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, came out
in support of the CAWU in a letter to the airport screeners.
The Teamsters currently have a five-year contract with Garda that expires
in the spring. In 2007, Teamster Local 847 received wide public attention when
it won the right for a female Moslem employee to wear a uniform conforming to
her religious beliefs.
For further information:
For further information: Ed Hawrysh, (647) 236-9454; Ken Dean (Teamsters
Canada) (905) 933-3178; James Robbins, Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre &
Cronish LLP, (416) 964-5509