Nfld. & Labrador

Judge hears arguments for and against airport injunction

Lawyers for the St. John's International Airport Authority and the union that represents their striking employees presented arguments for and against an injunction in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday.
About 85 maintenance and emergency services workers are on strike at St. John's International Airport. (CBC)

Lawyers for St. John's International Airport and the union that represents their striking employees were in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday

The airport authority is seeking an injunction against the workers’ picketing activities, arguing their actions have been out of control.

A decision is not expected until Friday.

About 85 airport employees, represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, have been on strike since Sept. 11.

But unlike the picket line, where tempers can flare, today's courtroom showdown between lawyers for both sides was limited to cool, legal sparring.

Union lawyer Greg Kirby began by challenging some of the evidence produced by the airport authority.

Then the airport's lawyer, Blair Pritchett, argued the picketers' behaviour constitutes legal wrongdoings such as trespassing, being a nuisance, and wilfully endangering the contract between the airport and a construction company doing work on its property.

Kirby countered that the airport had no hard evidence to back up its allegations, other than sworn statements by a number of witnesses.

He pointed out there was no video showing picketers on airport property, nor any proof - as required by the legal definition of "nuisance" - that the airport has suffered any damage.

The airport has already admitted that the picket line is not affecting its flight operations.

Justice Valerie Marshall is reviewing the case and expected to give her ruling on Friday.