tbnewswatch.com file photograph
THUNDER BAY -- A prolonged labour dispute at the city’s Bombardier plant will start to have ripple effect on area businesses.
That’s the opinion of presidents of two local companies that are suppliers for Bombardier, as the nearly two-week strike by members of Unifor Local 1075 and the Montreal-based company has halted production on light rail cars.
Roy Pelletier, president of Pelletier’s Powder Coating, said when Bombardier’s local plant is fully operational it counts for as much as 80 per cent of his company’s business.
“We definitely cater to them. I think people in Thunder Bay aren’t always aware of how much of an economic driver Bombardier is,” he said on Friday.
“We’ve seen the business pretty well drop off to nothing. Until the plant goes back to work we won’t see much, that’s for sure.”
The company is responsible for powder coating most of the interior components of the train cars that are assembled at the plant.
Pelletier said there is no immediate threat to his workforce, as there are enough other clients to keep things rolling. But that will only last for so long, as Pelletier added that the strike will likely have a more substantial impact if it stretches out.
Dingwell’s North America is another local sub-contractor that conducts a significant portion of their business with Bombardier.
Rob Bell, Dingwell’s president, said the company performs a variety of services with both the Rocket and bi-level cars, with that contract responsible for at least 35 per cent of their business.
The company is not yet in a position where they need to adjust for the strike, but that might change depending how long it takes for the plant to resume full operations.
“If it starts stretching into a couple months or three months, which it possibly could, then the loss of revenue is pretty substantial,” Bell said.
“Some of the other suppliers that are involved a little more than just normal will be feeling the same crunch we will feel. It takes a little while to trickle down.”
Pelletier said he has not had any contact with the company about the work stoppage and has no idea when it might come to an end.
As far as he is concerned, the strike can’t end soon enough.
“The faster they get back to work, the better it will be for everybody,” Pelletier said.