Thunder Bay Bombardier Workers Walk Picket Line

Bombardier workers are walking the picket line at the Montreal Street plant in Thunder Bay. Here Andrew Foulds joins the workers to show support.
Bombardier workers are walking the picket line at the Montreal Street plant in Thunder Bay. Here Andrew Foulds joins the workers to show support.

Talks between Bombardier and Unifor broke down today
Talks between Bombardier and Unifor broke down on the weekend.

THUNDER BAY – Workers at the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay began strike action today. “We all need to work together to ensure that good jobs survive in this province,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who is at the contract negotiations in Thunder Bay.

“Unifor is prepared to stand its ground to ensure the good jobs we already have are not whittled away.”

Bombardier workers are walking the picket line at the Montreal Street plant in Thunder Bay. Here Andrew Foulds joins the workers to show support.
Bombardier workers are walking the picket line at the Montreal Street plant in Thunder Bay. Here Andrew Foulds joins the workers to show support.

At issue are company demands for concessions in benefits and pensions. A three-day strike took place at the plant in 2011 in the face of similar demands.

The 1,000 workers at the plant, members of Unifor Local 1075, build the new generation of subway cars and streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission, as well as GO Transit trains. They have been in a legal strike or lockout position since June 10, and without a contract since May 31.

Dias said the Bombardier jobs are a good example of the kind of work needed across the province, providing decent incomes for families now, future job prospects for young people and decent pensions for workers to retire with dignity after 30 or more years of work.

“There are many opportunities to create even more good jobs like these ones,” Dias said, noting that many of the parts the Bombardier workers assemble are imported from Mexico.

“We need to find ways to make those parts, and other products, right here in Ontario, so more people can have good jobs,” Dias said.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 94,000 in manufacturing. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.