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Porter subsidiary reaches pact with striking workers

A tentative deal was approved Monday evening by 85 per cent of the 22 members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees union (COPE).


A Porter Airlines subsidiary has reached a first agreement with refuellers and customer service employees, ending a more than five-month strike.

A tentative deal was approved Monday evening by 85 per cent of the 22 members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees union (COPE).

Union Local 343 and Porter FBO Ltd. also agreed to withdraw all litigation between them.

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Mary Stalteri, union staff representative, said the deal contained a series of monetary and non-monetary gains, including lump sum payments, scheduling changes and grandfathering clauses for employees. Wages will also be reopened for discussion next year.

"There were lots of improvements in different areas," she said, declining to indicate the annual wage increase.

"When you add it all up it's good for both parties and the members were pleased as you can tell from the ratification process."

Stalteri said the negotiations and strike were learning processes for everyone.

"First contracts are hard and I think everybody learned from this particular experience. The gains that they made, I think they felt it was worth it."

Porter spokesman Brad Cicero wouldn't provide contract details but said the agreement was in line with another contract settled earlier this year without a strike for 44 Porter cleaners and facilities team members represented by another union.

The airline said it maintained operations throughout the strike with no disruption to flights.

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Porter FBO Limited is a subsidiary of Porter Aviation Holdings Inc., which operates the airline. It provides fuel services for aircraft at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and other services for private pilots and aviation businesses.

Porter Airlines filed a lawsuit in April seeking $3 million for general and special damages for defamation and $1 million in punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages over comments made by the union on Twitter.

The union called the lawsuit an abuse of process designed to silence members from protesting the way the airline treats its employees.

Porter flies to about a dozen cities in Eastern Canada and the United States and carried 2.45 million passengers last year.

The airline is seeking permission to fly jets out its main base on Toronto's waterfront after placing a conditional order for 12 Bombardier CS100 aircraft, with options for 18 more.

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