16 February, 2021
For immediate release
Ottawa, ON – The CIRB granted the IAM certification for 33 workers at Strategic Aviation in Ottawa. This number is expected to grow significantly once the airline industry recovers from the Covid pandemic.
The long but rewarding campaign began on 9 November, 2020 after West Jet released the list of companies it awarded its above- and below-the-wing services at 34 airports across Canada. It included Strategic Aviation.
Within a week, despite the pandemic, meaningful communications began and the IAM began holding virtual information sessions. The union also conducted door-to-door card-signing after which we filed an application with the Canada Industrial Labour Board on 18 November 2020 – nearly 3 months ago.
The company was taken by surprise with the speed with which the campaign was concluded and reacted by filing a frivolous and baseless Unfair Labour Practice complaint, alleging the IAM had used coercion, intimidation and elements of harassment in convincing the workers to sign IAM membership cards.
This was a grassroots drive initiated by the workers, all of whom were all on lay-off at the time and had no recall rights as they were not unionized and had no collective agreement.
The IAM fought through the 3 months of delays and was proactive in reaching out to Scott Duvall, the NDP Federal Labour Critic for assistance. MP Duvall then wrote directly to Labour Minister Tassi urging her to settle the matter as soon as possible.
“We put a bargaining committee in place, provided basic training, began conducting surveys, both written and electronic which kept the workers engaged and prepared them and their committee for the inevitability of collective bargaining, said Michael Corrado, General Chairperson with IAM District 140.
On February 15th, the Labour Board finally dismissed the company’s preposterous complaint against Corrado and the IAM. It was fitting that the dismissal of this complaint was issued on Family Day. After 3 long months, the CIRB finally granted the IAM representation rights. The workers were more than pleased.
“I would like to thank the overwhelming majority of these workers who signed cards and were brave enough to take hold of the steering wheel and gain control over their destinies. I would also like to thank my colleague Dan Janssen for assisting throughout this campaign,” Corrado said.
“Our next and final step is to negotiate and ratify an agreement as we move through this pandemic,” said Corrado.
IAM Transportation District Lodge 140 General Chairperson