Mass Rally at Toronto Airport for Air Canada Workers

June 10, 2011, 3:45 PM EST


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More than 1,000 CAW members and supporters demonstrated outside Toronto's Pearson International Airport on June 9, calling on Air Canada to end its demands to eliminate the current pension plan and back off on a number of other economic concessions.

The colourful and boisterous rally first began at the arrivals level of Terminal 1 of the airport and then moved outside to the entrance to the departures level.

A number of guest speakers addressed the cheering crowd made up of uniformed Air Canada members (including CUPE and IAMAW members), members of the bargaining committee, CAW members from local unions across Canada and community supporters.

CAW President Ken Lewenza commended members at Air Canada for their courage and support during the last 10 weeks of negotiations with the company. He said that the struggle for a good collective agreement at Air Canada is one that is being waged not just for CAW members, but for all Air Canada workers, security workers and those who are facing the same challenges and attacks by their employers. He warned that unless Air Canada dropped their demands for concessions and instead recognized the contributions members make to the company, it would soon have a strike on its hands.

CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross told the roaring crowd that CAW members at Air Canada fully understand the issues and remain focused on obtaining an equitable collective agreement. "We are going back to the table to tell the company in no uncertain terms that we want those concessions removed."

Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan brought support from workers across the province. John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, said that the fight at Air Canada was similar to many others, where the corporation seeks to destroy good jobs for the wealth of a few. Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice President Marie Clarke Walker also brought greetings and support more than 3.2 million working women and men who belong to the CLC. 

Negotiations with Air Canada are ongoing with a strike deadline set for Monday at 11:59 p.m.

To view photos of the event, please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cawmedia/sets/72157626929794632/

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