Day 11 of the YYZ Swissport Strike and YYZ is beginning to resemble a demolition derby or war zone of sorts.
I think I speak for everyone that the likelihood of someone getting seriously injured or worse increases every day as the replacement workers, supervisors and managers become tired, fatigued and exhausted from the stress of the situation along with the many hours of work.
Not that I am keeping score or anything, but since this dispute began YYZ has experienced the following incidents/accidents that I am aware of:
· Worker getting hand stuck/pinched in a belt loader
· Pallets containing dangerous goods falling on to the ramp and then being dragged along the tarmac
· Reports of temps with yellow passes not being escorted in accordance with the regulations
· Huge lav spill on Emirates that was being serviced by GTA Donata (replacement workers)
· Cargo pallet falling off loader on KLM
· Replacement worker injured on Air Transat flight where paramedics were called to the scene
· Cargo pallet with motorcycle falling off dolly
· Swissport push tug driving under the belly of aircraft to move a FMC loader out of the way
· Bag rooms with luggage strewn everywhere, the likes Pearson hasn’t seen in a long, long time
· A ramp accident where a replacement worker was speeding and smashed into a van and a Menzies tractor pulling baggage carts
· Accident in bag room where cargo containers were smashed together and nearly hit the ceiling and the fire sprinkler system
· Accident between Polish LOT and Air Canada Rouge (which is still under investigation).
I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg but it is alarming to say the least.
The solidarity rally held on Wednesday last week was inspiring and drew the largest labour crowd that YYZ has seen in many years. I am sure it got the attention of the GTAA and the airlines.
This fight has future implications to all Union workplaces at YYZ as the Airport Authorities have basically made a Temp Agency an employer at Pearson Airport.
The issuance of a License to Operate at our airport to a Temp Agency should scare the crap out of all of us. I am sure numerous, if not all other employers at YYZ are watching this closely as it is a cancer they could all inject into our future rounds of collective bargaining.
The TAWC sent communications to Howard the Coward…sorry…Howard Eng last week to express our concerns over this dispute. Howard did his usual and had one of his staff (Craig Bradbrook) respond to us. Dan Janssen has since responded to the GTAA and Mr Bradbrook.
Last week ended with the Teamsters 419 expanding the number and locations of their pickets. Aside from T3 and Vista Cargo, additional pickets were set up at GTA Donata at their infield operation, along with pickets at the employee entrance to the Viscount Parking garage.
The Labour Board was set to have a conference call with Swissport and 419 on Wednesday morning last week (same day as our solidarity rally) to address the Unfair Labour Practice hat 419 filed over the premeditated hiring and use of hundreds of replacement workers. The labour board postponed the call and instead had it on Friday afternoon last week. A further hearing with the Board is apparently set to take place tomorrow (Tuesday). Even if the Board finds that Swissport violated the law, I’m not certain what the remedy will be as they wont likely order the hundreds of temp workers to be immediately removed from the workplace as it would cause havoc to the travelling public.
This week we are planning some additional solidarity support functions at Pearson in an effort to turn up the pressure.
I have ordered hundreds of right to refuse unsafe/dangerous work cards from the workers health and safety centre. They will be delivered to me tomorrow and it is my intention to begin to distribute them to workers at the viscount train station commencing Wednesday. It is also our intention to distribute privatization literature to these workers to make them aware of the consequences of airport privatization.
On Wednesday afternoon the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World Union) will be holding a solidarity picket at the Four Points By Sheraton hotel at 6257 Airport Road (American Drive & Airport Road) from 2pm to 4pm.
Please join us in solidarity and in fighting for our rights at Canada’s largest workplace…YYZ.
The plan on Wednesday is to have solidarity support functions in at least 2 different locations at the same time (4 Points Sheraton & Viscount Train Station).
Please reach out to your networks of trusted activists and request them to join the picket at the 4 points Sheraton on Wednesday afternoon.
We will also be arranging a TAWC meeting and should be holding one very shortly. Details of the time, date and location will follow in a separate email this week.
Discussions have begun about planning a Labour Day rally at YYZ if this strike drags on. It would likely take place on Sunday September 3rd and could be a first for Pearson. Please tentatively put that date in your calendars.
Lastly, although the fallout of this dispute could potentially affect t us all down the road, please remember that this is 419’s strike.
Harjinder, if there is anything you need or anything you object to…please reach out and let us know.
Regional Assistant Directing General Chairperson
Transportation District Lodge 140
2580 Drew Road, Suite 203
Toll Free: 1-877-426-2948
Toll Free: 1-866-298-0369