A wildcat strike by Air Canada ground workers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport Friday morning had minimal impact on flight operations in Winnipeg.
The workers walked off the job early Friday in solidarity after three of their co-workers were suspended for heckling federal labour minister Lisa Raitt at Pearson Airport on Thursday. The strike later spread to Montreal and Vancouver.
Numerous flights in and out of Pearson were either delayed or cancelled, according to its website.
The airline was said to have terminated a total of 37 employees in Toronto, but reinstated them after they returned to work.
In Winnipeg, only a handful of flights were affected by the strike. The Winnipeg Airports Authority website listed a travel advisory, which read, “Due to work action by Air Canada ground handling employees in Toronto and Montreal, Air Canada is experiencing delays and some cancellations of flights departing Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL) this morning.”
Some connecting flights for travellers in Winnipeg had passengers expressing their frustration with the airline, which included an organized school group trying to depart. They were told to return home due to their flight’s cancellation.
Air Canada has been making headlines for several weeks due to union tensions and the recent closure of Aveos Fleet Performance plants across the country, which services their aircraft. Winnipeg’s own Aveos plant ceased operations earlier this week, which prompted Mayor Sam Katz and his counterparts in Mississauga and Montreal to write a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday to intervene in the plant closures. Workers staged a demonstration at the Manitoba legislature earlier today to express their plight with the company.
— With files from ChrisD.ca’s Sarah Klein