After eleven weeks on the picket lines, 700 baggage handlers and other ground crew at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport ended their strike against the airline services company Swissport last month. The workers, who are represented by the Teamsters Canada union, ratified the proposed contract by only 63 percent, pointing to widespread dissatisfaction with the agreement the union reached with the transnational company.
The union has refused to release any details of the deal. Union press releases after the vote claimed the contract contained “minor improvements on wages, benefits and scheduling.” A worker who spoke to the WSWS expressed the feeling of dissatisfaction among the workforce, saying, “In the end we really don’t know if we came out with anything or what really happened.”
When WSWS reporters contacted Teamsters offices at the local and national level for details of the collective agreement, they were either given the runaround or flatly told that the union does not make this information public. The only “concession” workers appear to have won from the company is that the contract will run for three years, rather than the five originally demanded by Swissport.
With over a third of workers rejecting the contract, and no figures provided by the union on voter turnout, it appears that hundreds of strikers simply refused to attend the ratification meeting out of frustration with the union’s orientation to the company and the big-business federal Liberal government.