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Airport security screeners demand better working conditions and respect from federal government

June 17, 2022

OTTAWA – Beginning Monday, June 20, security screening officers at 42 airports across Canada will be wearing street clothes on the job to draw attention to longstanding concerns over substandard pay, working conditions and disrespect from the federal government.

WHO: Airport security screening officers, members of the United Steelworkers

WHAT: “Casual Monday,” with security officers wearing jeans to draw attention to longstanding concerns

WHERE: 41 airports across Canada

WHEN: Monday, June 20, 2022

“Airport security screening officers across Canada have been disrespected by the federal government for years,” said Marty Warren, National Director of the United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents thousands of screening officers at several airports across the country.

“Airport security screening officers face tremendous pressure, stress and demands in their jobs, but they are underpaid and undervalued by the federal government,” Warren said.

Security screeners at numerous airports across the country, members of the USW, are in negotiations for new collective agreements. Next week they will begin wearing jeans as part of “Casual Monday” actions at several airports, to bring public attention to their concerns over low pay and working conditions, which are due primarily to the federal government’s underfunding of the sector.

“Staff turnover is a longstanding problem, as many security officers simply quit to seek jobs with better pay and working conditions, and less stress. This has led to an untenable situation, with serious staffing shortages leading to greater pressure on security officers and unacceptable delays for travellers,” Warren said.

“The federal government is scrambling to respond to the public outcry over airport delays, but it is still failing to mandate the funding needed to provide the wages, working conditions and respect that security screening officers deserve.”

The Casual Monday action by security screeners will not disrupt service at their airports in any way, Warren emphasized.

“Our members sympathize with travellers who have had to endure lengthy delays. We want to bring public attention to the need for the federal government to treat airport security screeners with respect and to resolve these longstanding issues,” he said.

Airport security screening officers in Canada are employed by one of three private, multinational security corporations. The corporations are overseen and funded by the federal government, through its Crown corporation, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).

“The system put in place by the federal government, through CATSA, provides healthy profits to the security contractors, while frontline security officers are told there isn’t enough funding to give them the better pay and working conditions they deserve,” said Warren.

“It’s time for the federal government provide the funds and the mandate to CATSA to finally address the concerns of airport security screening officers who have been underpaid, undervalued and disrespected for too long,” he said.

Click here for a list of airports where security screeners will be participating in the Casual Monday action.

Marty Warren, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-859-8403, dlipton@usw.ca
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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