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Operations unaffected as some Winnipeg airport staff go on strike

WINNIPEG – Flights and other operations were unaffected Monday as about 150 unionized support staff, maintenance workers and others at Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport went on strike.The workers — members of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada — have been without a contract since June of last year. They set up pickets after seven days of talks with a federal mediator failed to make progress.Marianne Hladun, executive vice-president with PSAC, said the airport authority’s negotiators seemed unwilling to meet.“We waited for them to come back to the table … and as far as I’m aware, we’ve not been notified that they’re interested in going back to the table.”The striking workers include duty managers, administrative personnel, information technology staff and airfield maintenance workers. A few dozen picketed outside the terminal but did not try to delay passengers, Hladun said.Flights and other services were on schedule, said airport authority spokesman Tyler MacAfee.“Everything is running pretty smoothly,” he said.The striking workers are a small percentage of the 4,000 or so workers at the airport, MacAfee added.The main hurdle in the negotiations is a union complaint that some of the work by its members has been contracted out. The authority has denied that, but Hladun said the union has seen it.“There are going to be situations where our members can’t do the work — highly technical stuff, some of the trades work … we understand that. But there’s absolutely no reason why an electrical contractor needs to come in to change lights on the runway or in the parkade.”The union asked for a show of support for its picket line by asking people not to use the airport. Steve Ashton, a former Manitoba cabinet minister who is running for the leadership of the provincial New Democrats, posted a message on social media that said he would not cross the picket line for a flight from Winnipeg to his hometown of Thompson, Mba.“Solidarity with PSAC at Wpg Airport. Having been elected off a Steelworker picket line. Cancelled my flight home,” Ashton wrote. Operations unaffected as some Winnipeg airport staff go on strike by Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 24, 2017 7:37 am MDT Last Updated Jul 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more