Approximately 150 employees walked off the job Monday at Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport. The strike comes 72 hours after the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) served airport officials notice on Friday.
The employees are seeking a wage increase of 5.5 percent in each year of a two-year agreement, retroactive to 2016.
In its latest offer, Winnipeg Airports Authority proposed a 7.5 percent increase — up from its original offer of five percent — over a five-year agreement and committed to not layoffs during that time period.
The proposed changes would increase the hourly wage of $25 to $56 per hour to $28 to $65 per hour. Under UCTE’s proposal, the lowest salaried full-time employee in the company would move from $49,000 a year to $54,500 a year, while those at the top of the range would move from $109,000 to over $126,000 a year. The WAA says overtime and shift premiums are over and above this amount.
Both sides worked with a federally-appointed mediator over seven days to try and reach a conclusion, but ultimately couldn’t come to an agreement.
“Our mandate is to operate our airport in a fiscally prudent manner in the best interests of our community,” said Barry Rempel, WAA president and CEO. “We respect our employees and value what they contribute to our company every day, which is why we have offered our team more money and guaranteed job security. We are confident our offer would keep WAA as one of the most sought after places of employment.”