Travellers going through Canada's second busiest airport Vancouver could be facing a striking employees, and delays.
Photo Credit: CBC Video

Strike notice at Vancouver airport ahead of holiday weekend

Strike averted, see August 30 update below
Hundreds of workers at Canada’s second busiest airport in Vancouver could be on strike this holiday weekend, and as early as Friday.

Local 20221 of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) informed the Vancouver Airport Authority of their right to strike as of midnight Thursday (August 29).

The union represents 310 employees, including customer service workers at international arrivals and runway maintenance crew.

CBC News quotes the BC Federation of Labour’s Irene Lanzinger suggesting that: “If the strike goes ahead – and it doesn’t have to, it doesn’t have to – but if it does, there will be plenty of chaos, plenty of disruption at the airport,” she said.

Canada’s Labour Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest of the year at the airport.

But Anne Murray, a spokeswoman for the Airport Authority, says she expects airport operations to run smoothly this long weekend, even if there is a labour disruption, “passengers should be reassured that there really won’t be delays for them.”

The union is asking people to be prepared for a strike: “We ask all our members to be prepared to use an alternative airport if our members are unable to arrive at a tentative agreement during mediation over the next few days.”

According to the union the Vancouver Airport Authority “has tabled many concessions including language that weakens apprenticeship provisions currently in the collective agreement as well as create a two-tier wage system that would create a new class of ‘seasonal’ workers.”

More information:
CBC News – Travel agents say the Labour Day weekend is one of the busiest times of the year at YVR – here
UCTE Local 20221 – Impending strike at Vancouver Airport – here
Vancouver Airport flight information – here

Update (August 30):
An agreement was reached between union and management representatives just hours before a midnight deadline Thursday (August 29). This means there will be no strike on the holiday weekend. The agreement needs to be accepted and ratified by the union leadership in September.

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