Important update for all Unifor 2002 members at GTAA

Important update for all Unifor 2002 members at GTAA

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 - 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

  • Parking update

  • 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 working together.

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 scheduling sequences.

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 local union.


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



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