Federal Labour Minister Intervenes in Yet Another Dispute

Apparently, we have become so used to Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt prematurely  intervening in public sector labour disputes that, when it happens, it isn’t even considered news any more.

In late October, Raitt ordered the Canada Labour Relations Board to “review” a bargaining dispute between the United Steelworkers, the union that  represents airport security screeners in Atlantic Canada, and Securitas Transport Aviation Security Ltd. Raitt has asked the CLRB to consider whether the service provided by the workers is an essential service, which has the effect of delaying any strike or lockout action until the CLRB issues a ruling on the question.

I only found out about this because of the sharp eyes of the editor who updates the news website for my textbook. Google indicates that only three news outlets covered the story: CTV and CBC (as linked above) and the Canadian Press (whose story was picked up by several sites and newspapers across Canada).

Some would argue that this is a regional story and there wasn’t any actual strike or lockout, so it isn’t newsworthy. However, given the federal government’s extremely sorry record of unduly interfering in bargaining disputes – such as the ones at Canada Post, CP Rail, and Air Canada – I think any instance of the same shameful behaviour deserves attention. Because every one of these events says more and more about the Conservatives’ lack of respect for the collective bargaining process.


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