Members working at Swissport Canada have a new collective agreement

PSAC is happy to announce that a new collective agreement has been ratified by members of the Swissport Canada fuel services bargaining unit at Vancouver International Airport.

The agreement, which was achieved with the assistance of a federal conciliation officer, expires October 2021 and includes a fair wage increase and improvements to shift premiums. The employer has also committed to addressing members’ concerns around part-time workers, with binding arbitration to take place should the union and the company not reach an agreement.

The bargaining team would like to thank all the members for their support, solidarity, and mobilization during this round of bargaining. The actions members took in the workplace were invaluable and sent a strong message to Swissport.

Approximately 80 members of PSAC/UCTE Local 20221 work at Swissport Canada in Richmond BC, refueling aircraft and providing associated services at YVR.

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Storm brewing on the horizon for YVR Fuelers

May 10, 2019

After conciliation meetings went sour, airplane fuelers at Vancouver Airport have given their bargaining team a strike mandate.

Approximately 80 members of PSAC/UCTE Local 20221 work at Swissport International Inc. in Richmond BC, refueling aircraft and providing associated services at Vancouver International Airport.

How did we get here?

Previous rounds of negotiations have not gone well. One of the stumbling blocks is Swissport’s desire to introduce part-time positions. The employer has clearly stated that they want this however they have come time and again unprepared to discuss the details.

When the union refused to write the employer’s bargaining demand for them, Swissport walked away from the table and filed for conciliation.

What is conciliation?

When a union and an employer are having difficulty reaching a tentative agreement, and have reached an impasse on key issues, the Minister of Labour may assign a conciliation officer to assist in the collective bargaining process.

While mediation and conciliation are similar in that they involve an impartial third party to assist in negotiations, they use different strategies. While a mediator guides the two parties to come to their own solutions, a conciliator may actively participate in negotiations by offering solutions to both sides.

The conciliation process can take up to 60 days, unless both parties agree to an extension.

In this particular case a conciliator was appointed on April 12th and both parties agreed to meet May 6 and 7. The bargaining team came prepared to work late into the night if that was necessary. Unfortunately, the employer didn’t feel the same and talks ended on May 7th with little results.

Members were provided an update on May 8th at which time a strike mandate was given to the bargaining team. This mandate gives the union the right to proceed with serving a strike notice if necessary.

What does this all mean?

Conciliation is scheduled to end June 11, 2019.The bargaining team is trying to set dates with the conciliator and the employer to continue negotiations.

Should a deal not be reached by this date, there are a few options:

  1. The conciliator can decide to extend the conciliation process if both parties agree.
  2. The conciliator decides that conciliation has failed and we enter a 21-day cooling-off period.

If we enter the cooling-off period, then no further work action (i.e. strike or lock-out) can take place before July 2nd at midnight at which time the union or the employer can serve notice of its intentions.

As details become available, we will continue to keep you updated with your bargaining team’s actions. If you have any questions in the meantime, please speak with a member of your bargaining team.

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Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

UCTE Local 20221


Mar 5, 2019

6:30 pm


YVR Domestic Terminal Building

Level 4 Sea to Sky Room #4101.16

Take the elevators or stairs behind the Lotto booth on DTB Lvl 3 to Lvl 4

See you there.

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UCTE National

Modernizing the Canadian Aviation Regulations

Submission by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees to Transport Canada

December 17, 2018

The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) believes that Canadians have a right to a safe, innovative and efficient transportation system in this country.  Every day UCTE members work with regulators, airport operators and private businesses to ensure this happens. The safety and security of the travelling public is our number one priority.

We are concerned about Transport Canada’s use of language for this request for input.  By asking ‘What specific irritants do you have with the Canadian Aviation Regulations and why?” suggests a bias in favour of removing perceived obstacles to operators or private businesses.  What may be an irritant to some may be a necessity for overall safety for others.  Transport Canada needs to keep its focus on its number one priority as a regulator – to put the safety and security of the travelling public as well as those who work in aviation above all else.

While Transport Canada states in the preamble to this review that its goal is to update and improve CARs to strengthen safety, in the next line it notes that ‘the review will modernize the Canadian Aviation Regulations, and respond to the needs and priorities of the aviation industry’. Also in past meetings with Transport Canada to clarify regulatory concerns, we had been advised that the department needs to consider the financial viability of airports when reviewing the regulations.  As the regulator, Transport Canada should take the lead as part of its regulatory responsibilities to ensure that safety always trumps financial considerations. This should not only be reflected in principle but implemented into practice within the CARs regime.  Again Transport Canada must remember that its responsibility is that of regulator and not industry promoter.

In response to the question posed, UCTE offers a number of suggestions regarding specific sections of CARs, particularly as they pertain to airport rescue and fire fighting. These issues were originally discussed in 2015 with Transport Canada management. One irritant is with regards to the reduction of airport rescue and fire fighting capacity under special and temporary conditions in Section 303.07 (4) Critical Category for Fire Fighting and Section 303.10 (1) – Temporary Exemption. Currently the regulation states:

303.07 (4) Critical Category for Fire Fighting If the operator of a designated airport anticipates a period of one or more hours of movements of aircraft of a lower aircraft category for firefighting only, the operator may reduce the critical category for fire fighting to the highest aircraft category for firefighting anticipated for that period if the operator

(a) documents the anticipated situation; and

(b) notifies the appropriate air traffic control unit or flight service station of the reduced critical category for fire fighting for publication in a NOTAM.

303.10 (1) – Temporary Exemption  Subject to subsection (2), the operator of a designated airport or of a participating airport or aerodrome does not have to meet the requirements referred to in section 303.09 where those requirements cannot be met because of a personnel shortage or unserviceable equipment at the airport or aerodrome caused by circumstances beyond the control of its operator and a notification of the reduced level of aircraft firefighting service at the airport or aerodrome has been given to the appropriate air traffic control unit or flight service station for publication in a NOTAM.

We are concerned that staff shortages in airport rescue and fire fighting may be permitted under the guise of not replacing employees who are on vacation or sick leave. In meeting with the regulator, we have been assured that since vacations are planned this is not beyond the operator’s control.  However, there have been a number of situations in which the operator is not taking steps to ensure compliance.  We believe that the language in the regulation needs to be strengthened in order to ensure that this practice is stopped.

 In addition, we have concerns about the usage of diversions and recovery flights in the calculation of critical category for airport rescue and fire fighting under Section 303.07 (1). We understand from Transport Canada that the airport has the option of requesting to the Minister that the movements not be account for in the reviews if the diverted or recovered aircrafts are of a higher category than normally scheduled.  We were advised that this request does not have to be in writing and it does not become part of the mandatory public information. This is a loophole in the regulation that does not provide an accurate statistical picture on the happenings at an airport. The language in the regulation should be strengthened so that all diverted or recovered aircrafts are accounted for in the reviews.

We also have concerns regarding Section 303.13 – Minimum Personnel and Section 303.17 – Personnel Readiness. In application, there appears to be a focus on flexibility versus safety when it comes to the minimum number of sufficient personnel that are in response posture to operate the aircraft fire fighting vehicles and apply the extinguishing agents required by section 303.09. The current practice by many Canadian Airports to have multitasked personnel who also happen to be first responders is wrong. There is a definite problem with regards to a clear definition of what “in posture” means and as a result is providing an opportunity for abuse by airport operators.  In our view, this is a direct result of financial considerations taking priority over maintaining safety levels.  The regulations need to clarify or strengthen the definition of such terms as in posture, the length of time firefighters need to be in posture before scheduled flights, standards for response time and ensure regular compliance.

The safety standards detailed by the current CARs offers less protection to the traveling public than regulations prescribed by the Department of National Defense for their installations and personnel, the recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization. This is not acceptable.  At minimum, CARs needs to be in line with the standards established by these other organizations.

After meeting with Transport Canada to discuss these issues in 2015, UCTE was assured of its intent to either update or develop a new advisory circular that would have provided clarification to all stakeholders.  To date and to the best of our knowledge this has not been done.  With this review, we hope that Transport Canada will live up to its commitment to clarify all stakeholders of the minimum requirements and expectations under CARs vis a vis fire fighting capability.

Thank you for the opportunity to present the concerns of our members before you.

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Clark National President

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Shop Steward Training





October 16, 2018

On site at YVR!


Are you interested in learning more about your Union, or would you like to be more involved.


PSAC will cover lost wages if you are scheduled to work that day.

If this is your day off, PSAC will cover mileage to/from YVR plus a per diem.

RSVP to:

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General Meeting

General Meeting

UCTE Local 20221


Sep 18, 2018

6:30 pm


YVR Domestic Terminal Building

Level 4 Sea to Sky Room #4101.16

Take the elevators or stairs behind the Lotto booth on DTB Lvl 3 to Lvl 4

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Shop Steward Training

Mark your calendars, PSAC will hold an on-site Shop Steward training class on Oct 16, 2018.

If this is your day of work, please apply for Union Leave and PSAC will reimburse you for your lost wages.

If this is your day of rest, PSAC will pay you a mileage allowance and per diem.


More details about registration and location will be available soon…

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Report on Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Conference

Earlier this year, Atlantic Regional Vice-President, Chris Bussey attended an International Conference on Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) on behalf of UCTE.

What Chris saw and heard at this conference from both American and Canadian colleagues was how much work was being done in the United States to build capacity and improve ARFF services and programs. But in Canada, the situation is going in the completely opposite direction.

Chris reports that ARFF has eroded to the point it has become a proverbial “tick in the box” as it relates to most airport operators. He also noted concerns that Canadian Aviation Regulations are woefully inadequate; especially in the areas of training, staffing, incident command, and interior firefighting capability.

The fact is that most airports in Canada have moved to some form of Aircraft Operations System (AOS) where firefighting has been downgraded to an add-on duty or a secondary or even third-rate role. UCTE members are required to preform these duties as a condition of their substantive job as an Equipment Operator or another Trade. They receive the bare minimum of training and could find themselves at a huge disadvantage if and/or when faced with a disaster or an accident at their airport.

This cost-saving trend is putting not only the employees at risk but passengers and crew as well. The AOS model and the degradation of ARFF services in Canada has created a situation where an incident, injuries, and potential deaths are well within the range of possibilities.

UCTE is launching a national campaign aimed to restore full aircraft rescue and firefighting at Canadian airports. In order to do this, we will need your feedback.  Watch for an important feedback survey from UCTE on this issue, coming to your in-box in September. We hope you will join us in this important initiative.

To read the full report, please click here.

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New Executive team

At our Annual General Meeting on Mar 1, 2018 we voted in our new Executive Team:

President – Devin Glass

Vice President – Iain Wringe

Secretary / Treasurer – David Costa

YVR Chief Shop Steward- Alexander Roth

Swissport Fuelers Chief Shop Steward – Ron Chohan

YVR Health & Safety Officer – Chris Miller

Swissport Health & Safety Officer – Elmer Turcios


The Executive team would like to thank the many members who turned out to show their support.

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Annual General Meeting/Executive Elections

Annual General Meeting

Local 20221


March 1, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m.

Oval Meeting Room

International Terminal Building, Level 4

Room C4857.0

(Go up the stairs just right of the International Food Court)

Agenda includes:

Reports from Executive Team

Executive Position Elections

New Business

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