Airport security screeners will be wearing jeans and other casual clothes on Monday (June 20) to draw attention to what they call “low pay” and “disrespect” from the federal government.
Screening officers, who are members of the United Steelworkers, will be taking part of the “Casual Monday” action at 42 airports across Canada.
“Airport security screening officers across Canada have been disrespected by the federal government for years,” said Marty Warren, national director of the United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents thousands of screening officers at several airports in the country.
“Airport security screening officers face tremendous pressure, stress and demands in their jobs, but they are underpaid and undervalued by the federal government.”
Security screeners at numerous airports across the country, members of the USW, are in negotiations for new collective agreements.
“Staff turnover is a longstanding problem, as many security officers simply quit to seek jobs with better pay and working conditions, and less stress. This has led to an untenable situation, with serious staffing shortages leading to greater pressure on security officers and unacceptable delays for travellers,” Warren said.
“The federal government is scrambling to respond to the public outcry over airport delays, but it is still failing to mandate the funding needed to provide the wages, working conditions and respect that security screening officers deserve.”
Casual Monday will not disrupt service at airports in any way, Warren emphasized in a statement.
“Our members sympathize with travellers who have had to endure lengthy delays. We want to bring public attention to the need for the federal government to treat airport security screeners with respect and to resolve these longstanding issues,” he said.
Airport security screening officers in Canada are employed by one of three private, multinational security corporations.
The corporations are overseen and funded by the federal government, through its Crown corporation, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).
“The system put in place by the federal government, through CATSA, provides healthy profits to the security contractors, while frontline security officers are told there isn’t enough funding to give them the better pay and working conditions they deserve,” said Warren.
“It’s time for the federal government provide the funds and the mandate to CATSA to finally address the concerns of airport security screening officers who have been underpaid, undervalued and disrespected for too long.”