Members of Local 16 in Richmond, British Columbia, who are employed by Swissport at Vancouver International Airport, sent an unmistakable message when they voted to give their bargaining committee a strike mandate by a margin of 94 percent.
The 300 members provide ground handling and baggage services at WestJet’s Vancouver operations in addition to serving Continental Airlines and maintaining the baggage sorting equipment at Vancouver International Airport. The prospect of a strike could have a significant impact on WestJet flights over the Christmas holidays.
“This vote was necessary because bargaining talks with the employer have reached an impasse,” said District 140 General Chairperson Todd Haverstock.
The company’s final offer included no wage increases for employees on the first four steps of the pay scale or with less than two years of service. “For other workers, the average increase amounts to slightly over one percent per year over a three-year agreement, and when you consider the average full-time wage is $11.30 per hour, this offer is nothing short of crap,” said Haverstock.