The CATSA Conundrum – We need a better process!

The CATSA Conundrum – We need a better process!

Toronto, ON – These are frustrating times for IAM members employed in federal airport security screening responsibilities.

While the IAM supports the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) in its work to protect the safety and security of the public as well as national security, we can’t ignore when its processes continually infringe on the most basic rights of our members.

Screening officers are certified by CATSA in the performance of their duties under a recurrent learning and recertification program. While CATSA is not the employer, rather a certifying body, it has the power to render decisions that adversely affect our members both professionally and personally.

CATSA can issue disciplinary directives without providing a fair appeal process and access to union representation. “It is an outrageous violation of the principles of natural Justice, when CATSA can hold our members off the job with no recourse to an effective Appeal process,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall. “In the current situation, justice delayed is justice denied.”

The IAM cannot allow Screening Officers to be treated unfairly. Tools that exist for other workers to defend their position when wrongfully accused, are non-existent for Screening Officers. “We demand a fair process, where a member has the ability to appeal to CATSA, and to bring a Union Representative to assist them in that Appeal,” said Pickthall.

Today the IAM began to circulate a petition among its members seeking amendments to the Canadian Air Transportation Security Act, the legislation that gives CATSA ultimate and unchallenged authority. This petition will be presented to Parliament. It spells out clearly what is wrong with the current legislation:

  • When there is a performance or operational issue, workers cannot challenge a CATSA decision at the local airport
  • Appeals moving from the local airport to the national level take a long time, in some cases, leaving workers out of work for a number of months without pay
  • Workers do not have access to union representation and may face disciplinary action if they disagree with CATSA’s decision
  • While workers are covered by a collective agreement with a third party employer, CATSA, who does not have jurisdiction, issues disciplinary directives without providing for a fair appeal process and access to union representation
  • An arbitration is not akin to an appeal, as it’s administrative, extremely lengthy and as such, fails to address worker’s issues promptly.

The IAM has raised these concerns directly with CATSA in Ottawa and they have been slow to act and respond. Accordingly, we are taking a different approach by coordinating efforts between IAM Transportation District 140, Local Lodge 2921 and Local Lodge 16 to engage in lobbying and political action to have these concerns addressed in Parliament. The petition is the first step.