February 27 update: Our members at Timmins Airport have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. The airport is set to strike starting March 1.

If you’re a Timminite, your winter vacation might turn into a living nightmare; thanks to Mayor George Pirie, the Timmins Airport is headed for a strike.

After two years at the bargaining table, the City of Timmins is insistent that airport employees accept a shady deal: a not-so-cleverly disguised paycut. The City is cutting these workers’ pay in several different areas and then asking them to accept a measly 1.5% pay increase.

The City wants to stop paying for our members’ insulated work boots, instead forcing members to purchase boots themselves from the $375 clothing allowance they receive annually to purchase gloves, coveralls, jackets, insulated clothing, etc. – clothing that’s necessary for working outside in freezing temperatures. When you consider that proper work boots would run about $200, this is essentially slashing our members’ clothing allowance by half; members would be on the hook for clothing that literally keeps them safe at work.

The only article of clothing that the airport supplies are safety vests – hardly sufficient for Timmins’ frigid winters.

The City also wants to eliminate a shift premium that our members receive when working outside core working hours; this premium has been part of our members’ pay since the airport was first transferred to the City back in 1998.

If Mayor Pirie and the City of Timmins think they’re being clever and sneaky, guess again: we know how to do math. We won’t be hoodwinked.

Our members understand that strikes can be disruptive – for both the community as well as their own families. That’s why we want to do everything in our power to avoid a strike; we’d like to invite Timminites to call the Mayor’s office and tell him to stop attacking working-class people.

You can reach the mayor’s office at 705-360-2611 or mayor@timmins.ca.

For media inquiries related to this story, please contact Βen Rеnе at 613-406-5962