Spring has been busy for Teamsters Local 362 Pre-board Screening Bargaining Committees across the province!

Starting with Lloydminster Regional Airport, 362’s bargaining a recommended memorandum of agreement on March 26 and a renewal of Lloydminster’s agreement that saw healthy wage increases of 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year and 2% in the third year; the membership opted to split the wage increases and allocated more money into their pension plan. Over a three year term of Lloydminster’s collective agreement, the membership will see $.71 in total added to their pension contributions, helping to secure their future upon retirement. The Membership in Lloydminster ratified the renewal of their agreement with 100% acceptance on April 2.

Heading to the southern half of the province: Local 362 negotiated a first collective agreement for Pre-board Screeners at Lethbridge’s Regional Airport with the help of Shop Steward Keith Atkinson. The agreement was ratified on April 11 with nearly 100% voter turnout and was accepted by the members with an outstanding 100% approval. The agreement saw healthy increases to the wages over a four-year term at: 1.25% in the first year, 1.50% in the second, 1.75% in the third and 2.00% in the fourth year and the implementation of a pension fund that will see the Screeners earn $1.00 per every hour worked by the last year of their agreement.

Moving east to Medicine Hat, bargaining commenced in late April for the renewal of the Pre-board Screeners at the Medicine Hat Regional Airport with Shop Steward Azra Austin and Training Specialist Patricia Hayworth present. With 2% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year, 1.75 in the third year and 1.5% in the fourth year. The Members ratified the renewal of their collective agreement at 88% in favour.

Heading north to Grande Prairie: Business Agents Pei Vanden Brink and Lukas Eichel-Fominov have had the delight to spend time getting to know all the Pre-board Screeners working at the Airport in Grande Prairie. It has been a wild ride along the way! With reaching a recommended offer in late March and having the memorandum rejected by a whopping 84% on April 6 while at the same time, fending off the threat of a decertification application that was submitted by CLAC in late April 2019, Local 362 knew that we had to make some changes to make things right for our members.

In early May 2019, the Canadian Labour Relations Board ordered a vote that occurred on May 9. With high voter turnout, Agents Vanden Brink and Eichel-Fominov raced to Grande Prairie to be present to support the Membership throughout the process and let them know whatever the outcome be, we have their best interest at hand and in heart. As the day rolled on, the Membership continued to trickle in to vote and at 6 p.m., the ballots were counted and the members working as Pre-board Screeners at the Grande Prairie Airport in large voted to remain Members of Teamsters Local 362. With this in hand, both Agents Vanden Brink and Eichel-Fominov knew that it was time to head back to the table to secure a favorable memorandum of agreement for the Members that insured their trust within the Teamsters. A phone call was made that evening to secure dates for the soonest availability that the company had and a posting went up to elect two bargaining committee members from within their workplace to better represent the Membership.

On May 27 and 28, the Union reconvened with Management with the Shop Steward Dawn Randa and Training Specialist Melissa Miller in attendance. At mid-day on May 28, Local 362’s Bargaining Committee reached a recommended memorandum agreement which saw improvements in increases and additional changes to the language. For example, amendments to the article pertaining to hours of work in collective agreement were made to allow more input into the shift building and bidding process which will aid from within the bargaining unit to ensure the as many full-time positions are created; as well, the addition of language that provides a paid meal break for any member working five hours or greater.

The Union’s Bargaining Committee understood that the Membership wanted to see improvements within the monetary package, as the cost of living in Grande Prairie is higher than in other areas of the province. In doing so, Bargaining Committee Members thought constructively as to the best way of achieving this through re-negotiations. Instead of a three year agreement, the union’s committee proposed a four year term of agreement and implemented the higher percentages in years one with a 2% increase, 1.5% increase in the second year, 1.5% in the third year in the third year, and 1.25% increase in the fourth year, which was a change from the previous memorandum voted in early April that saw 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year and 2% in the third year, but with the same allocation of increases over four years into the pensionable earnings, with an increase of $0.21 over the life of the agreement.

On May 7 Local 362’s Bargaining Committee presented the recommended memorandum of agreement to the Pre-board screeners in Grande Prairie. With great enthusiasm, Local 362’s committee went through all the changes that would be housed within their new and improved collective agreement if the membership chose to accept the recommended offer. In the late afternoon, the ballot box was opened and counted by the Members present.

Congratulations were in order!  The memorandum of agreement was ratified by the Members with a stunning 95% in favour of the acceptance.

Trustees Gary Kitchen, David Cooper, Business Agents Pei Vanden Brink, and Lukas Eichel-Fominov would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all Pre-board Screeners in the province of Alberta and a special thanks to the following Bargaining Committee Members that represented their fellow brothers and sisters in negotiations: Keith Atkinson (Shop Steward – Lethbridge); Azra Austin (Shop Steward – Medicine Hat), Patricia Hayworth (Training Specialist – Medicine Hat); Dawn Randa (Shop Steward – Grande Prairie), Melissa Miller (Training Specialist – Grande Prairie). Without your help, we would not be where we are today!

In Solidarity – General Teamsters Local No. 362.