President’s Message – District 140

CIRB’s interim order tells Garda to reinstate union supporters terminated in the IAMAW’s organizing campaign

The IAM will not tolerate attacks on our members’ rights!

I feel compelled to address the despicable actions of Garda Security Screening Incorporated because our members need to know.

In September, the IAM sanctioned an organizing campaign to organize Garda’s airport security screening supervisors (SPM’s) at the Toronto airports and filed a certification application. This campaign was sanctioned following decisions by the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) already recognizing similar groups of employees as appropriate for unionization in previous campaigns that took place at the Vancouver and Winnipeg airports.

What followed were actions taken by Garda that we believe can only be recognized as retaliation against this campaign and an attempt to deny these workers their right to unionization. Garda terminated three SPM union supporters and terminated our IAM DL140 General Chairperson, brother Barry Barnett for his work assisting these workers with their rights to join a union.

Garda went one step further. They advised their management staff that they were not to engage in union business with our District Lodge General Chairperson, Brother Barry Barnett and told our elected Union Officers to take over his work. In all of my years as a trade unionist, I have never seen such a flagrant attack on a union representative.

Terminating employees for participating in a union campaign is a direct violation of the Canada Labour Code. This will simply not be tolerated by our organization! The IAM has filed unfair labour practices with the CIRB against Garda Security Screening citing numerous Labour Code violations.

The IAM informed Garda that it sees its actions toward Brother Barnett as gross violations of the Labour Code inasmuch as they are attempting to direct a Union Representative in the performance of their legitimate and assigned duties. It is the IAM’s clear and unequivocal position that an employer may not direct a Union Representative, and that their actions constitute direct interference with the administration and formation of a union, contrary to the Labour Code.

Garda challenged Brother Barnett and this Union. They fired him for doing the job we assigned him to do. They do not get to tell him what he can and can’t do, that’s our job! They can’t sanction him for carrying out Union business.

In this country, employers cannot pick and choose which Union Representative they want to deal with and employers cannot refuse to deal with the Union’s elected Representative.

We stood up to this bully and I’m happy to report, we bloodied his nose in the first round!

The CIRB looked at submissions from both sides and issued an interim order to Garda to:

  • Reinstate Brother Barry Barnett as well as the three terminated SPM union supporters
  • To rescind the memo instructing employees not to deal with Brother Barnett
  • Post a notice in the workplace advising the SPM employees that they have the right to join a union

So the next time someone asks you what has my union done for me, you relay this story, you tell them how we fight for the right for workers to join our Union, you tell them the IAM will not bullied. There is a reason we are the largest airport security screeners Union in the country and this decision proves it!

Fred Hospes
President & Directing General Chairperson
Transportation District 140, IAMAW

Share on social media!

Comments are closed.