(en) Edmonton International Airport head threatens lockout

EW Plawiuk (ewplawiuk@mail.geocities.com)
Thu, 09 Oct 1997 06:16:15 -0600

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October 7, 1997

Airport head threatens lockout - union

EDMONTON (CP) - Emergency and runway maintenance workers at

Edmonton International Airport say the travelling public will be placed at

risk by a looming strike or lockout on Saturday.

The airport authority is training replacement workers in the event of a labor

disruption this weekend.

But the union representing the workers say replacement workers won't

have the specialized training and years of experience of aviation firefighters.

Scott Clements, head of the airport authority, has threatened to lock out

the workers unless they accept his final offer, says a union representative.

"He is saying he's going to lock us out," said Judy Shannon of the Public

Service Alliance of Canada.

"What that says to us is it will immediately put other workers at the airport

and users of the airport, including the travelling public, at great risk."

The two sides will be in a legal strike-lockout position at 12:01 a.m. local

time Saturday.

Clements said the airport must remain open and it will operate under the

highest of safety standards, with Transport Canada watching closely.

"This international airport is a public trust. It's a vital aspect of the economy

of Alberta, particularly the Edmonton region.

"I have absolutely no option ... other than to make sure this airport keeps

running and keeps running safely."

He said he's confident a settlement will be reached before the deadline. He

also denied threatening the workers with a lockout, but said it's an option.

The 175 members of the union have been negotiating a new contract for

about 11 months.

They include firefighters, emergency response and runway maintenance

workers at the airport south of the city and the satellite municipal airport in

central Edmonton, which does not have scheduled passenger service.

In the case of the firefighters, they're trying to get the same pay as

firefighters in Edmonton, said Shannon.

The main issues are money, pay equity and staffing levels in the firehall.

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