Airports authority, union reach tentative agreement

Negotiators representing the Winnipeg Airports Authority and more than 100 striking employees reached a tentative agreement Sunday night.

Roughly 150 workers have been on strike since July 24

Employees started walking the picket line outside the Winnipeg airport's arrivals level on July 24. (Daniel Igne-Jajalla/CBC)

Negotiators representing the Winnipeg Airports Authority and more than 100 striking employees reached a tentative agreement Sunday night.

Roughly 150 duty managers, maintenance and administrative workers from the airport have been on strike since late July. The deal isn't official until union members have voted on it, which will happen on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Public Service Alliance of Canada posted a statement on its website stating the union's bargaining team was "unanimously recommending acceptance."

Tyler MacAfee, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Airports Authority, said the authority wouldn't provide details on the offer until after the ratification vote.

"We're definitely happy. I mean, our goal throughout this has been to get our employees back to work," MacAfee said. "It's great that we're at this stage and we're optimistic that … the union membership will ratify the deal on Wednesday."

Striking employees, who are also represented by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, have been without a contract since June 30, 2016.

Prior to the strike's start, negotiators from either side were in discussions for seven consecutive days with the assistance of a federally appointed mediator, but weren't able to reach an agreement.

The strike began at 3 a.m. on July 24, when workers set up picket lines on the arrivals level at the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

Representatives of PSAC and UCTE told CBC at the time they had rejected the airport's latest offer because it didn't sufficiently address the issue of work being contracted out to non-union members.

However, the airport denied that was taking place, and has said it actually increased unionized positions since the new terminal opened in 2011.

​After the strike began, the airports authority sought and received an injunction against striking workers, limiting picketers to certain areas of the property and halting picketing in the airport parkade, among other restrictions.

However, the judge declined the airport authority's request to bar picketers from videotaping people at the airport and called a ban on strike activity near homes of employees "overly broad and too restrictive on the right of freedom of expression."

"We've been going back and forth with the union. There was a period of time there where we weren't making much progress," MacAfee told CBC News on Monday.

"But fortunately, everyone came back to the table about 10 days ago and we've been able to find a deal that everyone can live with."