80-day Swissport strike at an end

TORONTO, ON – After 80 days on the picket line Swissport ground crew at Pearson International airport are heading back to work.

The 700 members of Teamsters Union Local 419 voted 63% in favor of a new three-year deal on Sunday, that will send them back to work on Wednesday.

The agreement is not the first the union has voted on, with members having rejected a deal presented to them in August. The union says this new deal has improvements on wages and benefits, as well as scheduling, which was a major issue for some members.

Members on the line in August said they were concerned that new scheduling requirements would take them off regular shifts they had been working for years, instituting a system of rotating and on-call shifts that would leave them in a precarious position.

Swissport handles baggage, cargo, cabin cleaning, aircraft towing, and flight operations for 45 airlines, including 12 charter and cargo airlines such as UPS Canada, Nolinor Aviation, and Cathay Pacific Cargo.

Strikers holding up trucks at Pearson’s Vista Cargo Terminal at the beginning of the strike in July caused traffic congestion and delays of up to three hours for those picking up packages.

A court injunction in August against the strikers saw the wait times reduced to a five-minute-per-truck holding time, from the 20 minutes allowed by law.

Vice-President of Local Union 419 Harjinder Badial says the union isn’t done improving life at Swissport, and will continue to make working conditions better throughout the agreement.

“I would like to thank our members, mediators and the bargaining committee for their time and efforts over the past months,” he said.

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