Labour briefs

Porter Airlines, Unifor negotiate first agreements / NDP victory in Alberta a win for workers: Unifor

Porter Airlines, Unifor negotiate first agreements

TORONTO — Porter Airlines and Unifor Local 2002 have reached their first collective agreements.

The new deals cover 170 customer service representatives and ambassadors as well as 77 ramp attendants.

Improvements introduced by the collective agreements include union recognition, defined hours of work, shift and vacation bids by seniority, established grievance and arbitration processes, health and dental benefits for part-time employees and additional vacation time.

The three-year agreements, effective immediately, were reached through direct negotiations between the parties. The deals will expire on April 26, 2018.

All of the affected employees work at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The regional airline operates regularly scheduled flights between Toronto and locations in Canada and the United States.

The agreements were ratified by employees by 75 per cent each.

NDP victory in Alberta a win for workers: Unifor

CALGARY — In an unprecedented move, the Alberta NDP usurped a four-decade dynasty helmed by the Progressive Conservatives — and the victory could mean a stronger workforce, according to Unifor.

Following a majority win for premier-elect Rachel Notley and the New Democrats in Alberta’s provincial election on May 5, the country’s biggest private sector union is welcoming what it calls a new era.

"Tonight, hope has triumphed over fear," said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s president. "Albertans have demonstrated their confidence that there are viable alternatives to Jim Prentice and the Conservatives, and voted for a government that will put their needs first."

On the campaign trail, the NDP made commitments to protect public services, including health care and education, by reversing significant cuts floated by Conservative leader and outgoing premier Prentice earlier this year. Dias added that Notley would take a balanced approach to corporate taxes — something Prentice was reluctant to change despite hiking public taxes.

"No one can solve Alberta’s woes overnight, but today’s historic election is a confident step in the right direction," Dias said, pointing to ex-premier Peter Lougheed and adding that, "A generation after Peter Lougheed, it is the NDP who took up the cause of ‘thinking like owners’ and putting resources to work for Alberta’s families."

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