A strike might be coming to Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario

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Published April 9, 2024 at 6:09 pm

CBSA strike vote at Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Border services workers at Pearson Airport in Mississauga and across Canada are preparing for a potential strike as they seek a new contract.

Starting Wednesday, some 9,000 workers employed nationwide by the Canada Border Services Agency and represented by both the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union will participate in a strike vote.

The vote will continue through May 15. The idea, according to union officials, is to ramp up pressure on the CBSA as the Public Interest Commission holds hearings on April 10 and 22 aimed at finding common ground.

The PIC sessions are mandated by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board to help the two sides reach an agreement. Following the PIC hearings, the commission will release its non-binding recommendations in hopes of resolving the dispute.

If workers vote to strike, they’ll be in a position to do so at Pearson Airport and other locations across the country seven days after PIC releases its report — likely in early May.

CBSA workers screen all travellers landing in Canada at Pearson Airport.

In an update on its website, PSAC said that after nearly two years of unsuccessful negotiations, it declared an impasse in bargaining last September after it claims the CBSA “refused to budge on key issues like wages in line with other law enforcement agencies, better job security, access to telework and protections from contracting out.”

“Workers at CBSA have waited long enough,” PSAC national president Chris Aylward said in the update. “Our members have been without a collective agreement since 2022. While wages have stalled and the cost of living has risen, CBSA has refused to negotiate an agreement that protects workers and continues to demand concessions at the bargaining table.”

CIU national president Mark Weber added if the government is serious about reaching a deal, it must “honour the commitment made during the last round of bargaining and make equitable retirement a reality for our members.”

In other labour news that could impact travellers at Pearson, some 800 workers at Toronto airline catering company Gate Gourmet could go on strike as early as April 16.

The workers prepare and deliver meals, snacks, beverages and other supplies to planes for in-flight service.

If they go on strike, that could mean no meals, snacks and drinks on many flights departing Pearson starting later in April.

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