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Airline catering workers at YVR ratify contract, ensure labour peace

Workers had voted for strike action, had an overtime ban in August
Icelandair flies out of Vancouver and is known for having quality meals | Glen Korstrom

The nearly 300 Gate Gourmet workers who make meals for airlines that fly out of Vancouver International Airport have voted 94 per cent to ratify a new contract. 

The ratification ensures labour peace at the airport and means there no longer a threat that airlines may have to fly out of the airport without meals.

The new three-year contract raises workers' pay by nine per cent to a level where most are making around $25 per hour, according to union Unite Here Local 40. That puts those workers among the highest paid airline catering workers in Canada. 

The new agreement also comes with improved health-care benefits, improved seniority rights for long-term workers, a quicker path to top wage rates and an increased shoe allowance, according to the union.

The new agreement is to be in place through July 31, 2025. 

In July, the workers voted to potentially take strike action that could have escalated to leave dozens of airlines without catering. 

For more than three weeks in August, workers launched job action that included an overtime ban. 

The workers prepare meals to be assembled before flights. They also load aircraft trolleys with drinks, snacks and duty-free items. They deliver, load and unload products to and from planes.

“We’re proud of what we achieved during this round of bargaining," worker and bargaining committee member Rolando Gonzalez said in a news release.

"Gate Gourmet workers united together to win a contract that allows us to keep up with rising inflation."

Statistics Canada is set to release inflation data for October on November 16. 

Last month, the nation's number cruncher pinned inflation in B.C. at 7.7 per cent in September.

“We are pleased both parties were able to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement,” the Vancouver Airport Authority told BIV in a statement. 

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