Tbnewswatch Local News
Thursday July 2 2015
5:49 AM EDT
2014-05-08 at NOON

Strike vote

Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino says pension concerns are one reason his membership voted almost unanimously in favour of a strike.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino says pension concerns are one reason his membership voted almost unanimously in favour of a strike.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Dominic Pasqualino says Unifor Local 1075 members are worried Bombardier negotiators are looking to slash pension benefits in the next round of talks.

It’s one of the main reasons why more than 1,000 workers at the Thunder Bay plant voted in favour of striking, should as-yet unscheduled negotiations not go as planned, the local union president said. 

However Pasqaulino said getting the strike mandate this early in the game is not unusual.

“It shows that they support the bargaining committee and they support the mandate that we’re going for. We had excellent response,” Pasqualino said, about an hour after company officials expressed disappointment and surprise at the result of the May 3 vote.

According to Pasqualino, 100 per cent of the skilled-trade workers and 99.4 per cent of the general membership gave the strike mandate the thumbs up.

“We had almost 400 people in attendance, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

Pasqualino said the company has been reluctant to come to the bargaining table, and thus shouldn’t have been caught off guard by the vote.

“Normally we would have started negotiating by this time. But unfortunately they haven’t been available. Hopefully we can get things settled. Our goal has been, and we’ve stated since then, that we would like to get things settled as soon as this agreement ends, to not have that limbo period in between,” he said.

Bombardier Transportation issued a release on Thursday expressing the company’s disappointment in the decision.

The company stated it has not yet begun negotiations, but it has proposed bargaining dates to a national Unifor representative.

“Therefore, a vote to strike seems surprisingly premature. In addition, the current collective agreement is in effect until May 31, 2014,” the company said.

Bombardier officials went on to say that it values its 1,300 employees, including its 800 blue-collar workers and that the company plans to move forward with an approach that protects well-paid jobs for its employees to ensure a sustainable future for Bombardier Transportation in Thunder Bay.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
Too many Canadians are spoiled & expect more & more & more!
Most have never seen poverty like in the 3rd world countries & believe here in Canada we are entitled.
Were not!
Wake up people & enjoy the Canadian life because so many would love to swap places with you all over the world, even working for a minimum wage!
Too many spoiled brats that need a good backhand to understand WE ARE VERY LUCKY to live the way we do!
Stop complaining about the small stuff & enjoy yer life!
5/9/2014 12:05:03 PM
oscarmyerweiner says:
I can't see how the company see this as premature when the contract is due on May 31. Seems like the union is getting all the paper work done to possibly avoid a strike. I'm surprised the company hasn't even started negotiations with the union.
5/9/2014 10:17:16 AM
Shark says:
After reading some of the comments here I feel some need to be Educated on the subject. As an employee of Bombardier I know the scoop. They already dropped the starting rate by $6 an hr. The LRV line is already manufactured in Mexico, just assembled here. As of August the frame assembly of the Bi-level will be manufactured in Mexico. I am one of the people who manufacture parts and I can tell you Bombardier is purposely sabotaging this plant to give them the excuse to ship our jobs to Mexico. They think they are fooling us but they aren't. It's pretty obvious.
5/9/2014 9:43:39 AM
oscarmyerweiner says:
Just to add to it Mexico has no environmental laws like Canada, nor is there any heath and safety standards not to mention the quality issues.
5/9/2014 10:21:43 PM
Corvette says:
Does anyone really believe that things would be better without a union at Bombardier? The members know that the union is doing a good job or else the strike mandate vote would not be that high. Their requests are not unreasonable. They have worked well with the company in the past. They changed their hours of work to suit the company's workload.
5/8/2014 7:25:11 PM
tsb says:
I love the cognitive dissonance of you people! "Thunder Bay needs better paying jobs! But people with jobs better not ask for more pay, or else they deserve to be fired!!!"

If the company can't afford to pay its workers a decent salary, it shouldn't exist.
5/8/2014 7:10:36 PM
lori says:
I don't often use this language but I must. The stupidity of people like YQTYQT never ceases to amaze.

YQT--tell me. What private companies are in the subway business. What companies are in the street car business. Show the jurisdictions in Canada operating mass transit privately. T.Bay has it's own bus system for it's people. Should we turn that over to a private company. Think it will work.

Gov'ts need to move people because companies will not. It is a function of Gov't. Harris didn't agree and this facility, not the company almost closed. the Liberals believe otherwise. They believe in mass transit and 1000 more people are working there. And there would have been more work but the NDP, the saviour of the union man, could care less about our local plant because they want to try for a few more seats.

I know gov't is evil in your world. Maybe we should have private military, private water/food inspectors, private guards, private customs, private police. No problem right YQTYQT
5/8/2014 5:32:15 PM
Watchmaker says:
My grandfather lost his job and was beaten up with baseball bats for trying to help organize a union in Toronto in the 1930's. The rights of workers to unionize and fight for fair wages and benefits were hard fought and won first on the streets and then in the halls of government. I reject the opinions of those who say that the time of unions is over. You would have us go back to the 1930s and breadlines.
5/8/2014 5:31:09 PM
reese says:
A move to Fort Francis could be justified they will need the work soon
5/8/2014 5:18:09 PM
sawmillsteve says:
I'm glad I work union at the sawmill. Resolute is a ruthless company to work for and the french manager they brought in from Quebec doesnt know, read, or even understand the Green book in terms of safety. They want to make our JHSC basically non existant, have different safety standards for contractors on site and only come into the mill when the place is broken down.
We produce twice the amount of lumber as Buchanan used to with half the number of employees and still they cry broke with the price of Eastern Stud at or around $400MFBM.
They penalize everyone when there is an incident and have safety standards that are written by a pencil pusher in Montreal.
Thank you Unifor for saving us from going into an eternal black hole.
5/8/2014 4:41:20 PM
realisticone says:
Don't thank the union. Thank yourself and your coworkers. You're the guys that turn out the great product. The union protects the lazy and collects dues to fatten their own pockets.
5/9/2014 6:33:48 AM
yqtyqt says:
"Why not move a company to a place where people really want jobs and have the desire to work as well as the skills?"

I completely agree with your statement. Greedy employees surviving on government contracts. If it weren't for the Provincial contracts, the place would be forced to compete in the real world.

We've seen companies disappear when costs (labour and hydro) start rising beyond what keeps them competitive. Bombardier should do the same.
5/8/2014 3:19:32 PM
yellowsnow says:
@whatelseisnew. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I complain about unions, and I don't fit your 2 descriptions. I worked for a union (can't say I worked for a company since the Union ran the show) and now I do not, but I ;m not in management or do I own a business.

Unions protect the weak and meager. Yes, unions did have their usefulness after WWII but the times hae changed and they have overstayed their welcome. Time to go!!

There is no worse feeling than watching someone get paid more than you only because he has been there longer and higher up on the lovely union 'pay scale'.

Like you, I have a choice and I will never work union again. I don't like a portion of my pay going to keep all the Union heads on their private golf course all day.
5/8/2014 3:03:35 PM
Shane Caker says:
My "portion of my pay going to keep all the Union heads on their private golf course all day" is a tax deduction, thanks to the hard working, non union and underpaid workers in Canada. I'm retiring soon at age 57 or 58 with my two union pensions. Yes, two. Meanwhile, my good buddy sitting beside me right now as we're watching the hockey game, is non union and has no pension. No set plan to retire. Try putting 6 bucks an hour out of your wage into your own pension plan. You can't. But that's what I get with my union job. Paid over and above my wages. I don't pay half and the company matches. They pay it all. I work for the private sector if you're wondering. I'm not a gov't worker gouging the taxpayers. Freedom 55, or 57 does still exist. For union workers. Oh. Almost forgot. May 1st just passed. Another raise for me!!
5/8/2014 9:55:30 PM
BetterThunderBay says:
It's not so simple as moving everything to Mexico. Sure, some parts are built there, but you can't do it all. Public transportation vehicles are expensive things that are almost always purchased by tax dollars. Governments want to invest their dollars in-country. There are also various laws and contract provisions that require a certain amount of the work to be done in a certain location.

It's all in the details.
5/8/2014 2:40:54 PM
CarlosH says:
First of all, why 2 comments about moving to Mexico to be negative here? I come from Mexico and there is many good things to say about moving Bombardier there. Why not move a company to a place where people really want jobs and have the desire to work as well as the skills?

I hop it does move to Mexico. I would move back and work there in a flash.
5/8/2014 1:38:02 PM
DRL1979 says:
People want jobs here as well and are more than willing to work for them. No one was saying that Mexico doesn't have hard workers or the workers are any less qualifies, just that the wages are lower in Mexico.

These companies make huge profits every year. However when time comes to negotiate they all cry poor. Sorry employees you can't have that raise or better pension/benefits. We actually need you to take a pay cut. If you don't give up more and more we are going to have to move our business to a place where we can pay less (yes Mexico is one of those countries) and make more are threats employees hear all the time.

Lets not attack employees and the unions and blaming them for the faults of the companies. Lets hold the businesses accountable. If times are truly tough employees will make sacrifices. But don't forget they have families to take care of and bills to pay as well.
5/8/2014 1:57:26 PM
Shark says:
Mexicans have the skill and desire? Then please explain why 60 to 70% of the parts that Bombardier gets made in Mexico end up in the scrap bin. But then again if I only made 5 bucks a day I wouldn't give a crap either.
5/9/2014 9:55:10 AM
whatelseisnew says:
Before anyone starts bashing unions please keep in mind that if it wasn't for unions there would be NO employment standards. Examples are;

40 hour work week.
2 weeks MINIMUM vacation WITH pay.
Health benefits.
Health and Safety standards.
decent enough wages so you don't have to work 2 full-time jobs just to keep the heat on.

Everyone that complains about unions are 2 types of people; One, you've never worked unionised and are jealous; 2, You are management or a business owner.

Companies do not go broke because of union wages, they go broke because the owners are greedy and its easier for them to blame the union when they go out of business. I personally will never work at a non-unionised business ever again because its just not worth having a job just so you can say you work meanwhile you don't have a dime to your name after the bills are paid.
5/8/2014 1:21:39 PM
fastball says:
There's nothing wrong with non-unionized jobs - provided the employer recognizes his workforce as a partner in his venture. If he pays competitive wages and treats his workers as human beings, there wouldn't be a need for unions. When the obsessive pursuit for every last cent of profit is at the expense of workers and safety - that's what necessitates the need for collectivism.
5/8/2014 2:31:36 PM
conker2012 says:
Your generalization of those opposed to unions is insulting!

I have worked unionized and un-unionized and have made more money and have had better experiences with the non-unionized work place. As a young worker I was discriminated against because of seniority.

Where I had the skills, knowledge and capability to perform a higher paying job I was refused the opportunity for somebody who had more seniority. The goof that got the job was not qualified and never would be. They got the job but did not actually want it, they did not know how to do it, and they were not willing to be trained. The goof just wanted the wage to help his pension.

After that experience I found a new job at a non unionized place of work where I made 25% more money, have better benefits, and I was able to negotiate more holidays than the last place I worked.

In my experience unions hurt the hard working youth and protect the old and lazy. I thank the gov for 40hrs and 2 weeks vacation they legislated it.
5/8/2014 2:47:45 PM
SG says:
Maybe you weren't as good as you thought you were? Hey, it's possible you know.
5/8/2014 6:06:07 PM
fastball says:
Well, I suggest your generalization is a tad insulting as well.
I'm sure everyone's got a story to tell....some good, some not so good. But let's not get ridiculous and start tarring every job with the same brush.
If someone's not qualified to do the job - that should be ascertained in time, and then dealt with by his supervisor/management. But the spirit of unionism is that a worker should at least get a chance to prove he can do the job. If he can't, that will become apparent shortly. If he's not fit for the job, yet stay on - that says more about management than him.
Congratulations on your great job, though.
5/8/2014 11:27:47 PM
unheard says:
lets hear how you feel when you become old and lazy and a liability they will replace you with a young go getter and what will you do? cry?
stomp your feet
your argument is flawed
5/9/2014 1:37:28 PM
mystified says:
No more flawed than your comment. That young go getter you refer to won't produce because they will be hiding behind everything and anything checking their facebook all day long.
Give the hardest job to the laziest person and they will find the simplest solution and the job is done.
5/9/2014 4:33:39 PM
realisticone says:
Or we're realistic as to how much the end user is willing to pay for your product.
5/9/2014 6:26:44 AM
sawmillsteve says:
Guaranteed the sawmill will strike....come work inside for just a day!!!
5/8/2014 1:13:14 PM
ring of fire dude says:
A strike vote before negotiations ? The workers better hope Bombardier doesn't want to play hardball or your jobs will be gone to Mexico where labor costs are cheaper . Add to that a provincial election that could see the Liberals ousted in favor of a cost cutting Gov't that would be more than happy to see these welfare jobs eliminated because ThunderBay always votes Liberal .
5/8/2014 12:28:26 PM
fastball says:
Yes, at first blush it does sound premature - but in reality, not entirely unheard of. It's standard procedure to, at some point, gauge the commitment of the membership to their negotiation committee and the proposals.
There's no sense in threatening to exercise your legal right to withdraw your union's services when the membership isn't prepared to go that far.
There's issues that the workers could live with (or without) and wouldn't be prepared to walk off the job over - and other issues are sacrosanct.
5/8/2014 1:13:22 PM
Jack Frost says:
Sounds like another Resolute story !!

Bombardier could very soon be saying goodbye and adios and vaya con dios Thunder Bay and hello and hola to Mexico...
5/8/2014 12:27:20 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In