Job Action at Toronto Pearson Airport Shows Why Little Strikes Matter

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1476 .... September 2, 2017
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Job Action at Toronto Pearson Airport Shows Why Little Strikes Matter

Steven Tufts

As Labour Day approaches, we are often reminded of the large strikes that defined Canada’s labour movement. The 30,000 workers in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike or 11,000 autoworkers in the Windsor Ford strike of 1945 that established formal industrial relations in Canada. But little strikes also matter.

Teamsters Local 419 represents 700 workers employed by Swissport, a multinational company subcontracted to handle baggage for several airlines at Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The workers have been on strike since July 27. The demands are modest – wage increases that will be only slightly above the proposed increases to the Ontario minimum wage and the maintenance of benefits for part-time workers.
The workers have overwhelmingly voted down two proposed contracts as the employer insists upon concessions. The protracted strike will soon create greater problems for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) as the strike has larger ramifications for airport industrial relations and its 50,000 workers.

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