Toronto, June 1, 2017
Prime Minister of Canada
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
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 wages 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.
C.c.: The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport
C.c.: The Honourable Andrew Scheer, M.P., Leader of the CPC
C.c.: The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, P.C., M.P., Leader of the NDP
C.c.: The Ms. Martine Ouellet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
C.c.: The Honourable Elizabeth May, M.P., Leader of the Green Party