Airport screening officers launch labour action to protest 'disrespect' from Ottawa

Airport screening officers launch labour action to protest ‘disrespect’ from Ottawa

Airport security screeners are taking action against what they call substandard pay and “disrespect” from the federal government.

Marty Warren, national director of the United Steelworkers union, says the screeners will be wearing street clothes at 42 airports starting today to draw attention to concerns over wages and working conditions amid negotiations over a new collective agreement.

Ottawa has been scrambling to respond to scenes of endless lines, flight delays and daily turmoil at airports — particularly Toronto’s Pearson airport — caused in part by security and customs staffing shortages.

Despite hiring more than 850 screening officers since April, Warren says the federal government has failed to mandate sufficient funding for employee wages and conditions, pointing to staff turnover as a longstanding problem.

He says the union’s response, which it dubbed a “Casual Monday action,” will not disrupt service in any way.

Security screening officers are employed by one of three companies subcontracted by the federal government’s airport security agency.