Earlier today, UCTE members voted in favour of the 5-year deal struck at the bargaining table. This ratification brings to a close a turbulent round of negotiations, which required both conciliation and mediation during the bargaining process.

A key issue that had the parties at loggerheads was the union’s demand for an employee assistance program. This program would provide our members with options for professional counselling and advisory services when needed.

The deal approved today ensures that the J.A. McCurdy Douglas Airport will implement an employee assistance program; UCTE welcomes this important step towards elevating workplace wellbeing.

Another hard-fought issue centred around the airport’s refusal to fairly compensate members who perform critical firefighting duties. Our bargaining team was able to secure important gains for these members, starting with an on-scale premium of $2 per hour, paid bi-weekly based on hours worked and on most types of leave. This premium had previously been paid on a semi-annual basis and was calculated solely on scheduled hours, which didn’t reflect the true scope of these members’ vital role. In addition, the employer will now factor in the premium when calculating their RRSP contributions to members.

Members will also see their rates of pay increase according to the following schedule:

October 1, 2017: 2.15%
October 1, 2018: 2.25%
October 1, 2019: 2.30%
October 1, 2020: 2.35%
October 1, 2021: 2.50%

The employer estimates that these economic increases, along with the additional firefighting-related compensation, will account for a 15.51% increase in members’ compensation. Members who work full-time will also be entitled to a signing bonus of $750; seasonal members will receive a signing bonus of $375.

Finally, this round of bargaining has also brought other improvements to members’ working conditions: better rates of pay for standby hours, more flexibility around compensatory leave and an improved language aimed at minimizing short rest periods between shifts. The bargaining team was also able to secure legal coverage for members; this will ensure that employees don’t have to fear being held personally liable as a result of performing their normal duties.

Sydney Airport members who would like to obtain more detailed information are invited to consult their ratification package.

UCTE would like to congratulate the bargaining team on a job well done! Our sincere thanks go out to Steve Binder, Tom Aucoin, Chris Bussey and Larry Gagnon.

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