Anne-Marie Taylor, Receiver/Tank Farm Operator, Calgary International Airport
The airport is like a ghost town. Our aviation fueling area
airport is run by a consortium of the major airlines and some of the
cargo haulers. It controls the facilities and all the equipment. We are
responsible for fueling all the planes, driving trucks, working in the
office and in a below surface area called the tank farm.
spite of the fact that these big companies are responsible for
the operation and maintenance of the facilities, we as individual
workers took on the issue of safety during the pandemic. I don't let
any safety issues slide. I am a member of the Teamsters Union and was
active in my union in the telecommunications industry.
the scenes the consortium is calling the shots and there are constant
attempts to erode our working conditions.
and safety conditions have been nonexistent until very recently. Our
most vigilant employees have been women. Right from the beginning, a
woman part-time employee at the tank farm set an example by wearing a
mask. I brought in cleaning supplies and disinfected every possible
surface. On our own some of us started wearing masks,
but neither our company, nor the consortium, nor the government at that
point made mask wearing mandatory. As the pandemic progressed,
parents of some of our co-workers died from COVID-19, and later on some
of our co-workers and their spouses contacted COVID-19. At that point
some safety procedures, some of which were not practical within our
brought in, and still no mask mandate.
contact with each other and other airport employees and with
the truck drivers delivering fuel. Hundreds of truckers lost their
jobs, and those still working deserve to be safe. I alerted all the
truckers that I could when we had a tank farm worker who tested
positive, so they could take precautions. I encouraged my co-workers to
same. Every trucker was told until the employee who had COVID came back
to work. That was at the time of the first case we had. Again, no
responsibility was taken by our employer or the consortium! Finally
some safety procedures were put in place.
only been in the last few weeks that a safety audit regarding
COVID-19 has been put in place. Training courses have taken place on
safety but in confined spaces, well into the pandemic, where the
contract trainer was not even wearing a mask. Those of us who realize
the necessity continue to lead by example, and will continue
to do so.
What has also been helpful is the example
set by Air Canada workers,
who always follow the safety protocols. We interact with them on the
tarmac and I am pretty sure that they helped to get the consortium to
finally enforce stricter measures in our area. It shows how we all have
to work together and stand up for each others' rights.
This article was published in
March 8, 2021 - No.