Striking Bombardier workers rally before vote

THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Workers at Bombardier, on strike for six weeks today, held an energetic rally in Thunder Bay today, one day ahead of a forced last offer vote.

"We are here to make a statement on the importance of good jobs to Thunder Bay," Unifor National President Jerry Dias told the crown outside Thunder Bay city hall.

"Good jobs support families, communities and pay good taxes to the federal and provincial governments that support social programs."

The rally took place the day before a "last offer vote" ordered by the Ministry of Labour after an application from Bombardier. The company is allowed to make one such application during each round of bargaining. It forces the workers to vote on the company's offer.

Members of Unifor Local 1075 have been on strike at Bombardier since July 14 in the face of company demands for deep concessions. Unifor Local 1075 President Dominic Pasqualino said there are better ways for the company to save money if it needs to do so.

"Working with the union, the company can eliminate so many wasteful practices that there would be enough savings to both increase the company profits and continue to fund our modest pension," he said.

The offer to be voted on Tuesday contains cuts to benefits for current workers and retirees, while offering a wage increase of less than one per cent over three years and denying the current defined benefit pension plan to those hired after May 31, 2014.

As well, those hired after December 31, 2010, would receive no retiree benefits, and would get a one-time payment of $350. That concession would hit almost 500 workers at the 900-worker plant.

"We are standing up for the future of Thunder Bay, our local and provincial politicians should be standing with us," Dias said.

"The union brought these jobs to Thunder Bay. We need our local provincial politicians to commit to not just Buy Ontario policies, but to expanding them."

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

SOURCE Unifor

For further information:

Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.