36 YYJ airport security screeners fired; one speaks out: ‘I loved my job’


Len Rafter sits on the deck of his in-laws, but he should be working as one of the security screeners at Victoria International Airport (YYJ).

“I loved my job. There was so much. The relationships I built up over 15 years,” Rafter told CHEK News Tuesday.

On Jan. 6, his employer, Allied Universal Security, placed him on administrative leave while it conducted an investigation.

Then, a month later, on Feb. 6, he says he was brought into an office and told he was fired, along with 26 other union members who worked as security screeners and nine managers in the screening department.

“Devastating. Absolutely demoralizing,” Rafter said.

“Your feeling of self-worth is gone. And now I’m feeling isolated and alone because I’m trying to reach out. What can I do as a Canadian? I don’t know.”

‘Nothing erroneous’

Rafter still doesn’t understand why he was fired.

He screened passengers, airport employees, and vehicles and knew there were some minor issues but nothing significant.

“Very minor. Not looking in a coffee cup, failing to look in a coffee cup. Wanding a little too quickly in pace. Those sorts of things were what were discovered,” he said.

“There is nothing grievous. Nothing erroneous.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers confirmed the firing of 27 members.

Transport Canada only told CHEK News that “safety and Security of Canadians is always Transport Canada’s top priority.”

For Rafter, it leaves him with many more questions than answers.

“We’re all in support of each other, we’re supporting each the best that we can. But we’re all in this together,” he said.

Rafter said he was encouraged to sign a non-disclosure agreement to allow him to file for employment benefits. But he refused, and is instead speaking out about what happened to him and his colleagues.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) issued a statement to CHEK News.

It says during its investigation, it found a number of instances of incomplete screening at a non-passenger checkpoint by screening personnel employed by Allied Universal, CATSA’s screening contractor.

It advised Allied that the services of the employees in question could not be billed to CATSA, but at no point did CATSA request that the employees be fired.

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Mary Griffin

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