YVR airport hit by strike during busy Olympic period
What a difference a day makes.
Until this morning, sixty unionized workers at Milestone's restaurant at the Vancouver International Airport were expecting to lose their jobs when the Olympics wraps up and the crowds fly home. So today, they walked off the job and set up picket lines at YVR supported by 240 employees of other restaurants and food outlets - all members of Unite HERE Local 40 - during one of the airport's busiest periods.
Food is still available at other outlets and the airport is still fully operational. But getting a double double from Timmy's or a sit-down burger will be a challenge for travellers.
According to Milestone's employee Sadii Kristensen, the workers' complaint is with their employer, and not with the Olympics. But Kristensen said that she has been without a contract for almost a year, and that the time to take action was now.
Kristensen was told six months ago that the unionized Milestone's would be closing - and that it would be replaced by a non-unionized White Spot. She pointed out that both restaurants are owned by the same corporation, America-based HMS Host. To her, it looks like union-busting through the back door.
"They have both unionized staff and non-unionized staff, and they have been kind of playing us off each other," she said over the roar of airplane engines behind her. To her right, a cluster of around 50 strikers waved signs and chanted "Shut them down, Vancouver is a union town."
When asked what upcoming actions were planned, Kristensen said only that she hoped this was the last action they would have to take, adding: "the time for HMS Host to start talking with us is now."
Locations currently closed due to strike action (cbc.ca)