April 21, 2017 at 11:30 AM
On Tuesday, April 18, a membership meeting was held
at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel within Toronto Pearson Airport’s Terminal 3. The
meeting was scheduled based on feedback received from the membership, who
requested clarification on details of the collective agreement ratified in
August of 2016. Approximately 70 of the 1,100 members from Unifor 2002 District
333 attended the meeting.
This membership meeting was scheduled, and a room
booked, nearly a month in advance. A notice to the membership was sent on April
3, 2017, via Unifor 2002 e-mail communication (e-news) and also posted on the
Unifor 2002 website - unifor2002.org. Repeated requests from Unifor 2002 to
determine what agenda items would be available for discussion went unanswered by
the bargaining unit Chairperson, Antonios Kourteridis.
On April 14, a District 333 member forwarded a copy
of the agenda that had been posted in the workplace, but still not communicated
to Unifor 2002 and/or Unifor National Representative(s) through official
channels. The agenda items included:
General update from the District Chairperson
Pension and severance update statutory time
Separation process from Unifor Local 2002
Unifor 2002 election
The agenda was signed by District Chairperson
Antonios Kourteridis. A Representative from Unifor 2002 immediately attempted to
contact Antonios Kourteridis on April 14 to clarify the agenda items in order to
be prepared for the meeting; however, no response was received.
Late in the afternoon on April 17, Unifor 2002 was
included on an e-mail sent to the membership reminding them of the meeting that
would be held the next day. The e-mail communiqué included a copy of the agenda.
However, at this juncture, there was still no communication made from the
District Chairperson to Unifor 2002.
Unifor and its local 2002 have attempted repeatedly
to work closely with the District Chairperson to service and support the Unifor
membership at the GTAA. As with many local union structures, there are workplace
representatives, executive board members, service representatives and national
representatives who work collaboratively to ensure our membership interests are
being represented in the workplace, in our communities and within our
governments. Everyone who volunteers to step up to the plate to represent our
membership gives their time and commitment to the members to work together to
strengthen and protect negotiated rights. We will only be successful when
Our Executive Board and local service
representatives (including the Assistant to the President, Grievance
Coordinator, Human Rights Coordinator, Health and Safety Coordinator and
Mobilization Coordinator) rely heavily on communication from the workplace
representatives to understand any and all ongoing workplace issues. When there
is an open channel of communication in place, Unifor and its local 2002 can
develop best practices and strategies to support our members.
Unifor 2002 is encouraging the GTAA membership to
bring forward issues and concerns (to any of the representatives) to be resolved
in the best interests of the membership. We will only be successful if all of us
are working together for the best interests of our members.
The April 18 membership meeting had a motion from
the floor to start the process of withdrawal of the GTAA bargaining unit from
Unifor Local 2002. This has left many members in shock, including those GTAA
members who were unavailable to attend the meeting and/or were unaware of the
meeting agenda. Normally, a membership meeting (or series of meetings) is
scheduled to include as many members as possible. The April 18 single meeting
did not allow for many members to attend due to the membership’s complex
Unifor’s National Constitution outlines a process
for bargaining units that want to withdraw from an amalgamated local union.
The bargaining unit must advise the Local Union
Executive Board of its intention to withdraw and provide the Local Union
Executive Board an opportunity to address its concerns, including at the
special meeting that will be called with 14 days’ advance notice to all
members of the bargaining unit.
A secret ballot vote will be conducted and
requires two thirds of those voting to express support.
If the vote passed, then the unit shall deliver
to the National Executive Board a detailed statement setting out the reasons
for withdrawing from the local union.
If the National Executive Board is satisfied
the unit has just cause for withdrawal, and it will not adversely affect the
unit or the local, the National will call for a referendum vote of the unit
members, again with 14 days’ notice.
If two thirds of those attending support the
referendum vote, the National Executive Board will issue a charter for the
The above-noted process is intended to ensure all
issues are considered by a majority of the membership. All members should be
aware that the effects on the Unifor 2002 District 333 membership (and the Union
as a whole) need to be given careful consideration and serious review. Unifor
2002 values the membership of all bargaining units and the members we represent.
Our goal is to be open-minded and creative in finding solutions to best meet the
needs of all of our members. We welcome feedback and support in building our
union; our door is always open.
For more information, please contact:
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
/17-04-21 Important GTAA update HTML en.txt