Complaint against airport union dismissed

The Canada Industrial Relations Board has dismissed an accusation by the St. John's International Airport Authority that its striking workers have been bargaining in bad faith.

Airport management unhappy with ruling, ponders next move

Two striking maintenance workers try to stay warm on a picket line at the St. John's International Airport. (CBC)

The Canada Industrial Relations Board has dismissed a complaint by the St. John's International Airport Authority that PSAC has been bargaining in bad faith.

About 85 maintenance workers at the airport have been on strike since Sept. 11, 2012, in a dispute over wages and job security.

Airport management filed the complaint in December, immediately after the last fruitless meeting between the two sides.

Keith Collins is the CEO of the St. John's International Airport Authority. (CBC )

"We believe there were a number of significant issues that we raised in our complaint that were not addressed by the board in its ruling," said Keith Collins, the CEO of the airport authority. 

Collins said management has been weighing a number of options in response to the ruling.

"They would range everything from asking the board to reconsider, to taking the ruling to Federal Court to have it reviewed there," said Collins.

Hard bargaining

The labour relations board noted there was hard bargaining taking place in the dispute, with both sides holding clearly entrenched positions, but it found no evidence of bad-faith bargaining by the union.

PSAC maintains the complaint was nothing but a cheap shot by the airport.

Spokesperson Chris Bussey said the board's ruling confirms the union's position.

"We understand the labour code, and we understand our responsibility, and we've lived up to that," he said.

The two sides have remained far apart on key issues. The union has been looking for wage parity with airport workers in Halifax.

Management has wanted to chip away at existing pension, job security and contracting-out provisions to bring the St. John's workers in line with workers at other airports across Canada.

In its ruling, the labour relations board noted there would be no deal between the striking workers and airport management without compromise.