Aviation workers to demonstrate at Pearson Airport in Mississauga


Published December 18, 2023 at 8:23 am

aviation workers demonstrate pearson mississauga

Aviation workers are demonstrating at Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Unifor union members will gather for a “day of action” today (Dec. 18), the union said in a press release this morning.

The workers aim to bring awareness to poor working conditions in the sector that lead to delays, cancellations, lost baggage and packed airports, the press release states.

“We all know that travel chaos is common, even without the holiday rush,” said Lana Payne, Unifor national president.

“From the terminal to the tarmac, Canadians need a plan that improves working conditions in the air transportation industry and ends contract flipping, so the public’s travel experience can be a smooth journey. Our members’ working conditions are the public’s travel conditions.”

Air transportation workers are calling on the federal government, airport authorities and airlines to deal with the root causes of travel chaos by improving wages and working conditions in the sector – everything ranging from unpredictable hours to customer frustration and contract flipping needs to be addressed, the union said.

Pearson Airport struggled with delays and other issues as travellers returned after COVID-19 lockdowns ended. The airport made headlines after being labelled as the “worst place on earth” in 2022.

In November, U.S. flights were delayed for hours after a worker mistakenly let arriving passengers into a U.S. security-cleared area.

But recently, the airport has been back on track with 78 per cent of people reportedly satisfied with their experience.

Unifor, however, argues that the government, airport authorities and airlines need to do more to ensure workers in the aviation industry have fair pay and fair scheduling, protection from contracting out and access to safe and effective reporting mechanisms when problems arise.

Government, airports and airlines need to address unsafe and unsustainable workloads, provide adequate, high-quality training, ensure a harassment-free environment, deliver a healthy and safe workplace and ensure a say in technological change.

Today, frontline aviation workers will be distributing leaflets that highlight the Air Transportation Workers’ Charter of Rights, which highlights nine rights the Canadian government must meet to ensure the industry can fulfill their Air Passenger Protection Regulations — dubbed the “air passenger bill of rights” — and deliver a chaos-free travel experience.

“The fact is: airports and airlines cannot even meet the federal government’s passenger bill of rights without improving job quality and increasing the industry’s workforce. This means passengers will have to rely on fines and refunds instead of a travel experience we all deserve,” said Unifor National aviation director Sandi McManus.

“Fines and refunds are not a consolation prize for cancelled vacations, delayed visits with family and friends or missed business meetings.”

The public is urged to show support for real change in the aviation industry by signing Unifor’s petition to the prime minister and federal transport minister.

Unifor represents 16,000 members in the aviation sector.

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