THUNDER BAY – An Open Letter to Bombardier Employees & Families
Dear Bombardier employees and families,
The vote before you on a new contract proposal with Bombardier Transportation is critical. This is an important decision that impacts your families and children today and into the future.
Bombardier Transportation has received a lot of criticism from Unifor at a national and local level for the decision to request a Ministry of Labour supervised vote. Despite all the negative accusations and grand-standing by Unifor, the reason for choosing this approach is simple; time is of the essence.
After 6 weeks of labour disruption and with children getting ready to return to school, Bombardier Transportation believes it is time to end this strike, for everyone’s benefit.
From the Company’s perspective, no one will benefit from endless weeks of strike. And despite what the Union is promising, I can assure you that even after another 4, 8, or 12 weeks more of strike, the last Company offer will remain the same.
I personally do not want to see you and your families face further loss of income without end. We all have bills to pay no matter what position we hold or how much money we earn per year.
Time is also of the essence for the suppliers and businesses we work with. We have already received notice that several of them are making some difficult choices about their manpower commitments for September. Bombardier Transportation believes that ending the strike quickly is the right thing to do for our suppliers and their workers too.
Bombardier Transportation also has to think about the impact of time on our customers and the business here in Thunder Bay. You all know better than anyone that Bombardier in Thunder Bay has faced significant production challenges and delays over the past several years. These delays have put growing financial and performance pressure on this Thunder Bay site. A continued strike will only worsen these conditions to the detriment of our customers and ultimately all of us.
Bombardier Transportation has made a competitive offer designed to position the Thunder Bay plant to face competition from plants in countries that do not have Canadian labour laws and costs. This is also being supported by a 10% reduction in management, no salary increases for management, and freezes on travel and expenses, to name a few. In addition, all new white collar and management employees will also be enrolled in the Defined Contribution Pension Plan.
All of these measures are intended to continue to provide employees with good wages and benefits while being able to bid competitively on future work.
Bombardier Transportation is ready to conclude a new Collective Agreement with your union leadership, so that you can get back to work building the finest transportation products in the world.
When you consider your vote on Tuesday, I ask one thing; that you consider your own individual and family needs first. If you want to vote yes and return to work, be free to do so without fear of repercussion.
Head of Operations, Bombardier Transportation Americas
Bombardier has issued a statement: “In response to the repeated misinformation being propagated today by Unifor in a deliberate attempt to misguide our employees before the vote, Bombardier Transportation representatives are making themselves available to answer employees questions about the proposed contract offer.
Representatives from the Company will be onsite at the Airlane Hotel between 8:30 am and 2:00 pm on Tuesday 26th August to answer employee questions. The format will be a one on one environment to ensure that employees have the opportunity to ask their questions in confidence and in a safe environment.
Bombardier Transportation is asking its employees who are members of Unifor Local 1075 to vote in favour of the contract offer to put an end to the strike and return to work as quickly as possible.”