Baggage handlers in Vancouver take strike vote

Some 300 IAM Members in Vancouver have overwhelmingly approved a strike resolution in response to a contract offer Union leaders called “nothing short of crap.”

Talks between Local 16 and Swissport — the vendor that provides baggage handling and ground service to WestJet airline at Vancouver International Airport — are at an impasse, said District 140 Chairman Todd Haverstock.

“The company’s final offer included no wage increases for employees on the first four steps of the pay scale or with less than two years of service,” Haverstock said in a statement.  “For other workers, the average increase amounts to slightly over 1 percent per year over a three-year agreement.” Average pay for Members at Swissport is $11.30 an hour, he said.

In all, 94 percent of the Local 16 Members voted in solidarity to favor the strike resolution.

Along with providing services for WestJet, the Members handle bags for Continental Airlines and maintain the baggage sorting equipment at Vancouver International.

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