“The pandemic is putting a halt to many things these days, but it can’t stop the IAM’s commitment to education,” said Gord Falconer, Chief-of-Staff of IAM Canada. “It’s how we get our strength,” he said.
Approximately 50 members of IAM Local 2921, Screening Officers at Pearson International Airport, attended the Stewards Training conducted by Falconer – formerly the Education Representative for Canada. Airline Coordinator Keith Aiken, Research Director Ivana Saula and GLR Responsible for Organising Sam Jabbar were also present as resource people during the two sessions.
Steward Training generally includes an introduction to the IAM Constitution, an in-depth examination of the collective bargaining agreement, as well as overviews of the Human Rights and Health and Safety Codes. The trainings were held near the airport, in a banquet hall able to accommodate the various COVID-19 protocols around gatherings. Masks were provided to all participants to ensure the safety of all those present.
Canadian General Vice-President Stan Pickthall also addressed participants in both sessions. “Shop Stewards are the key to our success because you are the first people to become aware of a problem and have the ability to try and facilitate a solution. You are part of the solution that I see.” Pickthall also reflected on his own experience while receiving training more than 30 years ago adding that “It’s also a way of getting more involved in the unions and helping our members,” he said.
Members attending the training included Tayeb Lharti, General Chairperson for IAM District 140, all three Chief Stewards, current Stewards, as well those who want to play a part in the IAM’s vision of collective strength and solidarity with our members.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents approximately 2,400 screeners and is also the largest number of airport workers across Canada.