Working people call on Airport Authority to clarify role of temporary foreign workers

Working people at the Fort McMurray International Airport are calling on the Airport Authority to identify what role, if any, temporary foreign workers are being used to play in privatizing custodial services. Having replaced long-serving working people with temporary foreign workers would seem to represent a direct contravention of the terms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

“We have very serious concerns that the Fort McMurray International Airport has chosen to exploit temporary foreign workers as a way to further its privatization agenda,” said Glynnis Lieb, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE’s Alberta Division. “We have received reports that several of the workers, who have replaced long-serving staff members, have been using passports from the Philippines, and other nations, as identification. Replacing Canadian residents with temporary, migrant working people is exploitation, pure and simple.”

In April, twenty six experienced custodial workers lost their jobs as the Airport Authority sought to slash wages and privatize services. The express purpose of the TFWP is to allow “…Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary labour and skill shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available.” Replacing working people with more-easily-exploitable migrants seems a clear violation of the program parameters.

“It would not be necessary for us to ask these questions if the Airport Authority had been more forthcoming with information throughout the privatization process. Our attempts to work with the employer to address issues has been thwarted at every stage. If the Airport Authority has decided to exploit migrant working people in its rush to privatize services, then it is our hope that they will reconsider. Exploiting temporary foreign workers hurts everyone: migrant workers, Canadian workers, and our communities.”

For more information, please contact Heath Smith at (306) 551 – 4413.