A series of events triggered by the landing of Ms. Raitt on a flight from North Bay sparked a wildcat strike at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, creating travel chaos for 24,000 customers across North America and placing further strain on Air Canada’s labour relations.
About 15 ramp employees blocked the main exit out of the carousel section, slowly clapping in mock applause and taunting her with “nice job.” The protest forced the concierge to escort Ms. Raitt through another door, but the workers kept pace. They followed as she rode up an escalator at Pearson and she waited outside for her ride home.
Union spokesman Bill Trbovich said three workers, who “slow clapped” and heckled Ms. Raitt, have been suspended for 72 hours with pay, pending an investigation by Air Canada into their conduct. Hundreds of workers let emotions run high and left their posts because of false rumours through e-mail, texting and Facebook that those three employees had been fired, he said in an interview Friday.