Paladin security screeners at Calgary airport restricted from water, bathroom breaks

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CALGARY, AB, July 5, 2024 /CNW/ – On the first day of the Calgary Stampede, Unifor is holding a rally at Calgary International Airport on July 5 to shine a spotlight on Paladin, after the security company’s refusal to provide bathroom breaks and water to workers.

“Access to water and washrooms are the most basic of asks in a workplace,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“It’s not just fundamental decency, it’s about human rights. Unifor members, day in and out, are keeping passengers and the Calgary airport safe and deserve respect.”

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is the crown corporation responsible for providing airport security, CATSA subsequently contracts the work out. Previously, it was given to GardaWorld, before the Vancouver-based Paladin took over April 1, 2024.

The 937 Unifor Local 2002 members, who work as Paladin airport screening officers, training specialists and team leaders, are demanding more from an employer whose contract is worth over $1 billion.

In an emergency meeting held by Local 2002 last month, members raised a multitude of poor working conditions still plaguing the Paladin workplace, such as members unable to take scheduled breaks or missing breaks altogether.

The company has been sending people home at the start of shifts, claiming it is overstaffed, and then during that same shift removing breaks because there are not enough screening officers to handle demand.

The members are often denied bathroom and water breaks – some have been threatened with discipline if they try to take them on shifts where a relief worker is not available. Screening officers at other airports in the country are permitted to carry water bottles on their person or keep them in a localized area in the checkpoints for easy access but they are not allowed to do that at Calgary International for unknown reasons.

Access to water and sanitation are recognized by the United Nations as human rights and fundamental to everyone’s health, dignity and prosperity.

“Paladin needs to recognize the urgency of addressing these deplorable working conditions immediately,” said Unifor Local 2002 President Tammy Moore.

“We’re demanding that all members be treated with dignity and respect and be granted the decency to work in acceptable conditions. We need to stand strong together in solidarity and show Paladin that we will not tolerate this treatment. We also want to thank the public for its patience for any travel delays as we try to resolve this.”

CATSA must govern its contractors, including Paladin, accordingly and ensure Unifor members are treated with respect.

Unifor has tried repeatedly to resolve these matters with Paladin management, but the company has failed to act.  

The union has filed both grievances and health and safety complaints. Members have fainted at work or experienced medical issues due to working through shifts without breaks.

Last year, members experienced heat stress at the airport, due to lack of ventilation and air conditioning, and this spring, under Paladin’s rule, fans were removed from checkpoints altogether.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 320,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

SOURCE Unifor

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