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Striking Pearson ground crew to vote on new offer tonight, union says

Passengers line up at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on January 7, 2014. About 700 ground crew workers at Canada's busiest airport went on strike Thursday night after they rejected a contract offer from their employer. The unionized workers are employed by Swissport, a company that services 30 airlines at the airport including Sunwing, Air Transat, Air France and British Airways. The workers include baggage handlers, cargo handlers, cabin cleaners and other ground staff, as well as some employees who tow planes for the airlines Swissport services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Striking ground crew workers at Canada’s busiest airport are voting today on whether to accept a new contract offer and potentially end a four-week-long work stoppage.

About 700 cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, and other ground crew workers employed by Swissport at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport have been on strike since late July.

Swissport services 30 airlines at the airport, including Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa.

Air Canada and WestJet are not serviced by Swissport.

The ground crew strike has not significantly affected passengers, although the airport has been warning travellers that the labour disruption could affect some flights.

Christopher Monette, a spokesman with the union representing the workers, said members will finish voting on the new offer by 10 p.m. tonight.

The terms of the new offer haven’t been provided by either the union or Swissport, but the company has said it is optimistic that workers will accept the deal.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected the company’s last offer in July, triggering the strike.

Their concerns have included pay and benefits cuts, scheduling issues, and what their union calls a lack of respect from Swissport managers.