WAA Disappointed UCTE Walks Away from Mediation and Takes Members on Strike
July 24, 2017
Winnipeg Airports Authority Disappointed UCTE Walks Away from Mediation and Takes Members on Strike
WINNIPEG, MB – July 24, 2017 - Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) is disappointed the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), affiliated with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), has walked away from mediation and taken its members on strike.
WAA tabled an offer at the start of mediation last week that included a 5 percent wage increase over the course of a 5 year agreement and a commitment to no layoffs as a result of any changing roles in the company. Yesterday WAA increased this offer to 7.5% in hopes of reaching an agreement.
UCTE has repeatedly stated publicly that this negotiation is not about money. Despite that, the Union issued a 72-hour strike notice demanding increases that would cost the employer over 60 percent more in wages and benefits in 2 years. Throughout mediation they have maintained this demand.
UCTE is asking for a 5.5 percent increase for all employees in each year of a 2-year agreement, retroactive to 2016. The Union is also asking for a further increase at the top of each salary range, which translates into an additional 4 percent increase for nearly all unionized employees.
In real dollars, the proposed changes would move the salary range for unionized employees at WAA from the current range of $25- $56 per hour to $28 - $65 per hour. Under UCTE’s proposal, the lowest salaried full-time employee in the company would move from $49,000 a year to $54,500 a year, while those at the top of the range would move from $109,000 to over $126,000 a year. Overtime and shift premiums are over and above this amount.
UCTE’s demands also include an extra week’s vacation for nearly all employees and a retroactive reinstatement of a defined benefit pension plan, which was changed by agreement in the last contract.
“Our mandate is to operate our airport in a fiscally prudent manner in the best interests of our community,” said Barry Rempel, WAA President and CEO. “We respect our employees and value what they contribute to our company every day, which is why we have offered our team more money and guaranteed job security. We are confident our offer would keep WAA as one of the most sought after places of employment.”
UCTE has also accused WAA of contracting out union work. WAA does not contract out Union work outside of what is allowed in the collective agreement. We remain committed to providing sustainable employment for our employees. WAA will continue to add positions to the Union where there is a need or sound business case. Since the new terminal opened in October 2011, Union positions at WAA have increased, and a number of other Union positions have been reclassified at higher levels.
Most importantly for travellers, WAA has plans in place and does not anticipate any significant disruption to operations. Travellers are encouraged to visit waa.ca for any travel updates. For more information on labour negotiations please visit waastrikeinfo.ca, which will be launched later this morning.
About Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. is a non-share capital corporation responsible for the management and operation of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, the Iqaluit International Airport and other affiliated businesses. For the seventh year in a row WAA has been named one of Manitoba’s Top Employers. An array of cargo and passenger services, a regional economic impact of $3.4 billion, and an unwavering dedication to our community symbolize our commitment to lead transport innovation and growth. Learn more at WAA.ca/About.
Tyler MacAfee Director, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. 24 Hour Media Line: 204.992.2791 Connect with us on Twitter @YWGairport