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A Message From Jerry Dias

Sisters and brothers,

At several announcements in Toronto today the Federal Government will announce a number of reforms to Canada’s Labour Code. These proposed reforms include important steps to address contract flipping and protect successor rights provisions at airports.

I applaud Minister Hajdu and her government’s move to ensure airport workers are protected against wage cuts in the event that supplier contracts change hands.

We will scrutinize the specific details of this announcement when it becomes public. However, the fact that the Minister appears willing to address this issue is a victory for our union, that has been years in the making.

The National Union, Unifor Locals and other unions worked hand-in-hand to lobby the Federal Government, mobilize our membership and put public pressure on employers to secure workers’ rights. Too often, workers would face job loss in the event that supplier contracts change hands. When this occurs, workers are often forced to re-apply for their same job, sometimes losing pay and benefits. This is completely unfair.

For Unifor, this issue came to a head in a 2015 campaign at the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA). The existing contract for customer assistance to airline passengers with mobility issues was retendered, and employees (our Unifor sisters and brothers) were told to re-apply for their jobs. Our Locals organized delegations to attend GTAA public meetings and spoke out against this practice – generating major media attention (link to: https://bit.ly/1TaXjde). Our members were on the ground collecting thousands of signatures petitioning the GTAA to protect workers rights – raising public awareness of how contract flipping hurts workers.

This past January our union made a Federal Government submission calling for greater protections to workers in the event contracts are flipped. Today, it seems, our struggle has paid off.
We should welcome today’s announcement, but we should also understand that the change proposed will not be law until it is adopted by Parliament.

We have to be ready and committed to continue our mobilizing on this issue. We have to keep the pressure on all Federal politicians to vote to ensure all workers are treated with respect, dignity – and never again forced to re-fight for the rights they’ve already won, simply because a supplier contract has changed hands.

To all the members who have taken part in this struggle, I thank you for your hard work. You’ve made our union proud.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

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