• ITVI.USA
    14,270.140
    -77.460
    -0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.470
    0.090
    0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,258.910
    -85.130
    -0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.790
    0.030
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.280
    -0.100
    -3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.460
    -0.040
    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.990
    -0.310
    -9.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.970
    0.010
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.650
    -0.300
    -10.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.490
    -0.200
    -7.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    14,270.140
    -77.460
    -0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.470
    0.090
    0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,258.910
    -85.130
    -0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.790
    0.030
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.280
    -0.100
    -3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.460
    -0.040
    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.990
    -0.310
    -9.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.970
    0.010
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.650
    -0.300
    -10.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.490
    -0.200
    -7.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
American Shipper

Air Canada operates amid labor unrest

   A potential strike by mechanics, baggage handlers and cargo agents against Air Canada is on hold after Canada’s labor minister, Lisa Raitt, referred the labor dispute, and another one involving the pilots’ union, to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.
   Last week, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union announced plans for workers to walk off the job Monday, March 12. The union’s contract covering 8,600 workers expired March 31, 2011, and negotiations have failed to produce a new agreement. Air Canada, meanwhile, had threatened to lockout pilots after its latest offer was rejected, according to news accounts from Canada.
   Both sides thought they had a deal when the IAMAW bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement with the airline following federal mediation. 
   The government interceded because of concern that a work stoppage would damage the fragile economy.
   Raitt said CIRB will review the Air Canada situation to ensure that the health and safety of the public are not affected during a work stoppage. The Canadian government on Monday also said it would push through legislation eliminating the possibility of the two labor disputes turning into strikes or lockouts, a move that was criticized by the opposition National Democratic Party as trampling on workers’ rights. The legislation would appoint a government abitrator to decide the terms of the new contract for pilots, mechanics and ground crews.
   “I am concerned that the parties have not been able to reach agreements,” Minister Raitt said. “I encourage the parties to continue working together to resolve their individual disputes and restore confidence for the traveling public and Canadian job creators that rely on commercial air services.”
   CIRB is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal. Its mandate is to interpret and apply the provisions of Canada’s labor code that deal with collective bargaining and unfair labor practices.
   Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he wasn’t going to permit management to shut down operations after having helped keep Canada’s largest airline afloat three years ago, Dow Jones Newswire reported.
   “Air Canada came to us during the global economic crisis and asked specifically for government assistance in a number of areas because of the dangers of shutting down the airline that it represented to the Canadian economy,” Harper said at an event in Toronto. “I’ll be darned if we will now sit by and let the airline shut itself down.”
   The federal government and its agency, Export Development Canada, in June 2009 provided C$250 million of a C$600 million loan to the airline from a syndicate of lenders. Montreal-based Air Canada, a legacy carrier, had at the time narrowly averted filing for bankruptcy protection and gained major concessions from its unions. The airline repaid its loans in 2010, according to Dow Jones. — Eric Kulisch