Federal labour minister watching threat of strike by Air Canada workers

The federal labour minister says she’s concerned about a planned strike by Air Canada’s largest union which threatens to disrupt March Break travel plans for thousands of Canadians if baggage handlers and machinists walk off the job.

OTTAWA — The federal labour minister says she’s concerned about a planned strike by Air Canada’s largest union which threatens to disrupt March Break travel plans for thousands of Canadians if baggage handlers and machinists walk off the job.

Bonnie Raitt has moved swiftly in the past to put a stop to strikes that have threatened to shut down the country’s biggest airline.

Raitt says she’s concerned about the impact a strike could have on families and the economy, and she’s encouraging both sides to avoid a work stoppage.

But interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel is asking the government not to step in and to instead let the two sides hammer out a deal.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents about 8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers and cargo agents at Air Canada.

It served notice late Tuesday that it intends to begin a strike at 12:01 a.m. ET on March 12 unless a new contract is signed by then.