Screeners at Kamloops Airport call for more stringent measures under pandemic

In an open letter to airport manager Ed Ratuski, United Steelworkers local 1-417 president Marty Gibbons said members have complained that more must be done. But Ratuski told KTW he airport has implemented additional cleaning and social-distancing measures and has been in contact with the screeners’ employer throughout the COVID-19 crisis

The president of the union representing pre-boarding screeners at Kamloops Airport says members have told him not enough is being done at Fulton Field to stem the spread of COVID-19.

In an open letter to airport manager Ed Ratuski, United Steelworkers local 1-417 president Marty Gibbons said members have complained that more must be done.

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The measures requested by screeners include limiting the number of entry points into the airport, posting security at entrances to turn away anyone who is not a passenger or employee, implementing further cleaning measures, ensuring inbound passengers leave the airport immediately after retrieving luggage and posting signage at the airport’s entrance.

“I have been informed by our pre-board screeners that YKA continues to allow unrestricted access to the main terminal and no additional cleaning activities are taking place,” Gibbons wrote.

Kamloops Airport manager Ed Ratuski said he understands the anxiety pre-board screeners might be feeling, but told KTW the airport has implemented additional cleaning and social-distancing measures and has been in contact with the screeners’ employer, G4S, throughout the entire COVID-19 crisis.

“I think they’re not entirely familiar with the discussion we’ve had with our janitorial services, either in terms of the additional cleaning processes and chemicals they’re using in the building,” Ratuski said.

According to Ratuski, cleaning at the airport has been increased “significantly,” especially at high-touch points passengers come in contact with daily, such as baggage carts and washrooms.

Ratuski also pointed out the airport, overall, is not a busy place these days, with a nearly 70 per cent decrease in passengers due to the pandemic and with the Quarantine Act imposed.

“No one with COVID should be coming in this building, anyway,” he said.

Ratuski said screeners should approach airport management through their employer so any issues can be worked out that way.

As for the recommendations put forward in the union letter, Ratuski said the suggestions are interesting.

“We are producing some signage to encourage people not to come in if they don’t need to,” he said, noting the airport is also poised to be even less busy, with Air Canada flights temporarily stopping as of April 1.

“That’s when we only have two flights out of Kamloops per day, one in the morning on Central Mountain Air and one in the afternoon on WestJet,” Ratuski said.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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