March 1, 2011 / 8:54 PM / in 7 years

Porter Airlines Ottawa staff vote to join union

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Ground staff working for Porter Airlines in Ottawa have voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees, becoming the first employees of the regional Canadian airline to join a union.

The 50 new union members are made up of customer service, ramp attendants and operations staff at Ottawa International Airport, CUPE said in a statement on Tuesday.

Privately held Porter, founded in 2006, has emerged as a serious competitor to bigger rivals Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd in Eastern Canada where business travelers like its upmarket service and the proximity of its Toronto airport to the city center.

Air Canada, the country’s biggest carrier, is currently in labor talks with its large unionized workforce. Most of their contracts expire at month-end. WestJet is not unionized.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson

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