Anti-Airport Privatization Campaign -Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau -IAMAW Canada

June 1, 2017

Prime Minister of Canada
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Prime Minister:

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) represents over 400,000
workers including 40,000 in Canada. We are the largest union in the air transport sector in Canada.

We are writing this letter to you because of the great concern our membership has over the prospect of
Canadian airports becoming privatized. Many of our members work at airports, from pre-boarding
screening officers to aircraft mechanics and ground handling workers, and they are very critical of any
attempt to either fully or partially privatize such vital public assets to the Canadian economy.

Since the Emerson Report was released in June 2016, the IAMAW has been very clear in our opposition
to the privatization of Canadian airports and we have previously provided a position paper to the federal
government in response to that report (http://www.iamaw.ca/iamaw-canada-submission-on-the-emerson-report/).

With airport privatization, the prospect of job losses for workers is real. There are some 45,000 direct jobs
at the Toronto Pearson International Airport alone, with some 8,000 being performed by IAMAW
members. Many of these members’ livelihoods could be directly impacted by airport privatization.

The federal government currently generates a lot of revenue through airports. Airport privatization would
prevent the federal government from generating tax revenues and airport authorities from generating
income on a regular basis, and would weaken Canadian airlines. As a result, higher fees would be put on
passengers’ shoulders. In other words, privatization means rising costs for the travelling public.

The UK and Australian experiences of privatizing airports have proved to be disastrous for airport
workers and for the travelling public. Studies show that costs increased despite assurances they would
not. Rather than privatize Canadian airports, the IAMAW is seeking to engage with the federal
government in a discussion on how to improve working conditions of our members and the mandate of
the airport authorities, such as:

  •  Improving the legislation to allow airport authorities to better manage their operations and have
    better access to funding to improve facilities without raising costs.
  •  Introducing a labour voice into their boards to bring forward concerns from the tens of thousands
    of workers who work at airports across Canada.
  •  Eradicating the growing trend of contract-flipping – which hurts workers, impacts upon services
    and costs the travelling public. Regulatory changes to end this practice should be implemented as
    soon as possible.
  •  Use taxes collected from the Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) for airport security
    exclusively, as originally intended.
  •  Ensure safety is held at the highest level for all workers and passengers using the airport.
  •  Raise the minimum wage for airport workers so they can live in dignity.

We are launching our “Anti-Airport Privatization” campaign today. Along with hundreds of emails your
office have received regarding our online petition against airport privatization, your caucus can expect
meeting requests from our engaged membership, who are actively involved in many federal labour issues.

Yours sincerely,

Stan Pickthall
General Vice-President
IAMAW

cc: The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport
cc: The Honourable Andrew Scheer, M.P., Leader of the CPC
cc: The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, P.C., M.P., Leader of the NDP
cc: Ms. Martine Ouellet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
cc: The Honourable Elizabeth May, M.P., Leader of the Green Party of Canada

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