Toronto, ON – He has been a fixture of sorts at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport since graduating from Centennial College as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician in 1987. Through the grapevine David Freeman heard Wardair was hiring and his first job started him on his career. “I liked the idea that it was a family-run business, loved it there, no regrets,” he explains. “I gained a wealth of extensive experience doing C checks, and they rotated you through all of their shops.” What followed was the Wardair merger with Canadian Airlines and then the merger with Air Canada. Through it all, he continually acquired experience, respect and admiration from his co-workers.
It wasn’t long before he became the go-to-guy on the shop floor, serving on the IAM Local Lodge 2323 Shop Committee negotiating some substantial local agreements with national impact within Air Canada. “I was the Shop Committee Chairperson for four years and recognized this position gave me the opportunity to have greater influence over the company and thus make the life of our members better,” he explained. “All of that experience gives me a leg up on the Air Canada management I deal with because they change their management team every few years,” says Freeman. “When I talk operations I’m the one with knowledge, it’s about knowledge with them, knowledge is power and knowledge gives you confidence.”
He was elected in December 2016 to replace Lou Pagrach as General Chairperson for IAM Transportation District Lodge 140, who was appointed Grand Lodge Representative in charge of Political Action. “He’s exactly what we need in Toronto because he’s a known commodity, the members on the shop floor know him and respect him,” said IAM Transportation District Lodge 140 President and Directing General Chairperson Fred Hospes.
The IAM is the largest union at Air Canada and Local Lodge 2323 represents over 3700 members at Air Canada in Toronto and Ottawa. David’s responsibilities consist of representing members at Air Canada who include Aircraft Line Maintenance, Stores Personnel, Ground Support Equipment, Aircraft Tooling and Equipment in Categories 1, 13, 14, 19, 23,24 , 26, 27, 38, Mechanics and Cat 33 Cleaners as well as Ottawa Line Maintenance and Airports, He also represents technicians at Air Transat and Field Aviation in Toronto. In total about 1,135 members come under his umbrella.
Are there challenges to overcome? “Understanding the issues in Ottawa will be my biggest challenge because I have not yet represented the customer service membership,” says Freeman. “Building the IAM brand is ongoing. Every member’s point of view is heard and their issues dealt with to the best of our abilities. “You have to have the trust and respect of the membership and a functional relationship with the employer’s if you’re going to do this job effectively.”