Around 350 workers at YVR will be at their stations over the long weekend after their union and airport management struck a last-ditch deal.
As the midnight strike deadline fast approached Thursday, weary, but happy, union leaders — representing mainly emergency response, customer care, runway maintenance and passenger loading operations workers — and management emerged with 90 minutes to spare.
Although neither party can get into the specifics of the deal, until union members and YVR board have reviewed and ratified it, both sides said Friday morning they were delighted with the outcome.
“We’ve been hard at it, 13 hours on Wednesday and all day and night Thursday,” said Dave Clark, regional vice-president of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
Clark said it was kind of hit and miss yesterday whether a deal would be reached and it wasn’t until 9 p.m. Thursday that he was confident.
“It’s a tentative four-year deal, which is longer than the three years previously on the table, and we’re very happy,” Clark added.
“It will now be put to our membership in mid-September and they will have the final say.”
The unions had issued a 72-hour strike notice on Tuesday, with the main issue being concessions sought by the airport, particularly around wages for trades people and procedures for contracting out work.
Anne Murray, YVR’s vice-president of community and environmental affairs, paid tribute to the negotiating teams on both sides for coming to a “fair and equitable” agreement.
“We’re really pleased with the outcome,” said Murray, who added that, although being 90 minutes from strike action, negotiations had been going on since April.
“We’d been looking for the right agreement that works for everybody.
“The strike has been averted and we’re good to go for the Labour Day long weekend.”
Murray said she’s especially pleased for the employees and the passengers, many of whom were worried about the effect of strike action over the long weekend.
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