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FORT MCMURRAY – Working people at the Fort McMurray International Airport are calling on the Airport Authority to undo its attempts to slowly privatize services. Having already recently contracted out custodial services, the Airport Authority is now placing security into the hands of a third party company.

“We have made every effort to work with the Fort McMurray Airport Authority in order to find alternatives,” said Les Collins, President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1505. “Unfortunately, we have been met with secrecy and a lack of disclosure at every step of the process. If the Airport Authority intends to privatize its services, then working people should be able to expect transparency. That is not what we’ve seen so far.”

Privatizing security services comes as just the latest example of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority contracting out services in recent months. In April, twenty six experienced custodial workers lost their jobs in favour of economically-exploited replacement workers, making barely more than province’s lowest legally-permissible wage.

“There is ample evidence to show that privatizing services hurts communities,” said Marle Roberts, President of the CUPE Alberta Division. “The Fort McMurray Airport is replacing skilled, experienced working people with people that it will economically exploit. Privatizing services always costs more in the end, as profit margins grow and working people and our communities are left with less. We believe that the authority should think twice about eliminating jobs and turning community investment into corporate profits.”

For more information on the long-term effects of privatization in Alberta, please see the 2012 paper by Shamez Walji.


Heath Smith