Toronto, ON – The airline industry in Canada has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands of airport workers have been laid off, airlines have grounded fleets and associate airport business have been shuttered. For those still employed and going to work at the airport, it can be an unnerving experience as the virus has not stopped it spread.
“Some airport employers have been better than others when it comes to providing personal protective equipment (PPE). We have been working closely with our allies at the United Steel Workers (USW), fighting for our Members, employed as pre-board screeners across the country to get service providers to provide the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) they require as front line workers in this pandemic. It looks like our collective hard work over the last couple of weeks has paid off as the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) will now supply face shields to our screening officers across the country,” said IAM District 140 General Chairperson Tania Canniff. “Our pre-board screeners have been demanding the proper PPE from their respective employers since this pandemic started. Through our collective hard work, we were able to get the screeners the protection they deserve,” said IAM District 140 General Chairperson Tayeb Lharti.
On April 17, 2020 Transport Canada issued an emergency guidance mandating that effective April 20, 2020, all passengers wear a face covering while travelling. Also contained in that guidance was mandating proper PPE for screening officers. This guidance mandated that any screener who could not maintain a 2-metre distance through the performance of their duties was to be given a mask. This week, through discussion with the unions, CATSA agreed to supply face shields to all pre-board screeners, throughout the country. Canniff added. “The cooperation between the IAM and the Steelworkers on the fight to protect our pre-board screeners has been amazing. It’s incredible what we can accomplish when we are all focused and working towards a common outcome, like the health and well-being of our Members.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents the largest number of airport workers across Canada.