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Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday May 30 2015
12:25 AM EDT
2014-08-15 at NOON

In compliance

Matt Vis,
By Matt Vis,

THUNDER BAY – Work at the city’s Bombardier plant during the labour dispute with Unifor Local 1075 complies with provincial regulations, concludes Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.

Members of the local plant’s management team have resorted to working on cars at the Montreal Street plant in attempts to minimize the impact of the now one-month long strike, which involves nearly 900 employees.

Bombardier spokeswoman Stephanie Ash said the Ministry of Labour conducted an inspection Thursday afternoon following complaints that management was working on mobile equipment without proper training.

“They found no issues with what we’re doing at the plant,” Ash said.

“It was a surprise inspection and they also conducted their mandatory inspections they have to do when businesses are on strike in a labour disruption. They make sure the right procedures, policies and protocols are in place and continue to be in place during the labour disruption. They found no orders needed to be issued.”

Ash said many of the management members who are working on the cars are former Unifor employees and have direct experience working on the cars, as well as supervising.

However, Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino is still not convinced the work is completely safe.

He is concerned the training is not suitable for the experience required to operate the equipment.

“It may be technically safe but it would be like a new driver reading the drivers’ handbook and being expected to operate the car properly,” he said. “It may be legal but I don’t think it’s safe.”

While things were quiet on the line Friday morning, tensions may increase again next week as the company is planning to ship one of the new light rail vehicle cars to Toronto earlier next week.

Ash said the car would be shipped by rail, which under the agreed strike protocol the company would have to provide a minimum 72 hour notice period to the union.

An exact date and time for the move is still to be determined.

Shipment of three completed Rocket subway cars earlier this week became contentious, with Bombardier accusing the company of violating the protocol agreement.

Members marched alongside the flatbed trucks hauling the cars, at times walking in front of them while they were moving down the street.

There was also profanity and abusive language directed at personnel moving the cars as well as the police officers who were providing traffic control to escort the vehicles away from the plant.

Ash said the company is trying to learn from the incidents to ensure the next shipment will be handled more smoothly, and is exploring their options to find other solutions.

Returning to court to file another injunction is their last resort, she said.

Pasqualino said the movement of the three cars happened while the majority of union leadership was out of town, leaving the line mostly unsupervised.

He vowed there would not be a repeat of the behaviour on the line.

“If they ship the cars I’ll make sure they’ll be allowed to ship the cars,” he said.


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oscarmyerweiner says:
Like I said in a previous post, most of us have other jobs, or a spouse that works, some have moved out west, some have better paying jobs and will not be returning. We are all in. So if the company thinks it will out last the employees...........wrong answer, they will be forced to lay off the remaining workers, move and relocate management, possibly pull the plug and lose contracts. All for paying into a pension plan for the ones that made them money for 30+ years of service. Greed at it's finest, example: Lutz Bertling President and Chief Operating Officer (fancy title) his pension is $640 000 a year for only working six months with Bombardier and it will increase with time. An average worker will roughly make about $1800.00 ($22 000/year)a month on pension. Can you see who is bleeding the pensions. Nothing but greed and it has to stop.
8/16/2014 5:47:48 PM
trevor99 says:
Here is my two problems with the union.

1. They told the membership that it was their pensions at risk. They said this when they were looking for a strike mandate from the membership. Big surprise, they got the mandate. But only after the company gave the real story publicly, did the union do a mea culpa and provide the truth. Only new hires. So all you 900 folks walking the line are picketing for the people not there yet. That is some commitment on your part.
2. UNIFOR is trying to unionize a toyota plant in southern ontario. Rumour is that they are telling those workers that they will fight for their pensions as part of the appeal to create a union at the plant. Caving on pensions here would likely make that attempt to organize, a harder sell. Certainly someone can confirm or deny this.

This strike is going no where until the union caves on the pension issue. It is your finances being impacted. Are your really going to lose your house for a worker who is not hired yet?
8/16/2014 3:59:24 PM
Robert Smithers says:
As someone that has been in the exact same position as those at this plant all I have to say is you have my sympathy's. Unifor (CAW at the time in my case) played the exact same games with the exact same results except fast forward to today that plant is no longer in existence and hasn't been since 18 months after the strike was settled and they found a new location for a new plant and all 800 people are living and working elsewhere except the plant chair and a couple of the longer sitting reps, they were all given jobs with the local. Sorry to say but this is going to cost the guys working on the floor and Thunder Bay in general because it will be a thousand jobs gone to somewhere else, maybe not today or tomorrow but within a couple years of any settlement. The Unions don't get it anymore, this isn't the 70's.
8/16/2014 12:13:44 PM
outside looking in says:
I was a union member for 20 years and in management for 10 years and have seen both sides of disputes. In most unions, there are a few people with extreme ideas and poor work ethics because the Union always protects them. The rest are followers. Look at the strike vote results. If the numbers posted here are accurate, less than 50% voted to strike and they voted almost 100%.

You are being led by a few people who only care about union ideals and not what is actually going on in the world. Going on strike because of a perceived concession of giving up a 5 min wash up before lunch and changing your pension type (but keeping your pension) is not a great idea in todays working world. Negotiate something else but do it while working and getting paid.
8/16/2014 10:31:03 AM
Robert Smithers says:
as someone that sat on strike committees I can honestly tell you that we knew what the number was for a strike mandate 2 days before the actual vote. Things like that are why I changed my opinion about unions, these guys are at what, 4 weeks out now, at 6 weeks the national will put pressure on the local to take whatever they are offered because its cutting into their slush fund.
8/17/2014 8:38:52 AM
tbag4life420 says:
I find it hilarious that the ministry comes at 6 pm when there Noone working to evaluate.
8/16/2014 10:30:48 AM
Eastender says:
Money and profits are made by producing a quality product in a timely manner, not by making artificial shortages and disruptions in production by forcing a strike, solely for the purpose of generating bonuses and promotions for management. Whoever the people were that forced this strike should be fired.
8/16/2014 9:25:19 AM
progress now says:
Everyone wants to get out of defined benefit pension plans. I don't like the move to contribution defined pensions anymore than you do.

If you are in the public sector and think you are safe, government will compare your benefits to the private sector ones and say yours are too rich...and they will move in the same direction on your retirement security. So if this union loses, everybody loses so there is a lot at stake here, and its why I say this could be a landmark labour action.

The thing is, is it winnable?

If you take this to the end and win, congratulations on behalf of bargaining units everywhere.

Know this though, people out there are afraid for the guys taking this action - they don't want to see them lose more than a bargaining position, because they believe that the world is just that mean today, and they don't want to see people out of work altogether.

Its the members stand to take, and as long as everyone knows what's at stake, who am I to judge?

Bon courage...
8/16/2014 3:08:33 PM
Eastender says:
If management is so good at doing the work of 900 or so experienced skilled workers, then why dont they just lay them off and save all that money . Because they just cant replace 900 skilled and experienced employees with a bunch of paper pushers. Those cars that get worked on by management will be the ones with chronic repair problems.
Stay together, stay strong. Once this strike is over, and it will eventually be over, you will see some of those managers get reshuffled or demoted, because this strike was precipitated by the executive greed for bonuses, and not a genuine need for cost cutting to make this company profitable. This strike was engineered strictly for personal greed, and not for any real economic survival of a highly profitable company, with a demand for its quality products that you build.
There are more savings to be had by efficient management , than cutting employee benefits. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
8/16/2014 9:19:36 AM
Greenstoner says:
One thing I don't understand is Unifor's insistence on negotiating for future employees, not even hired. No company can afford to promise defined benefits 30 years into the future for emplyess not even hired yet. As I understand it, the current employees are not expected to change their pension benefits. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Defined contributions rather than defined benefits isn't necessarily a bad thing, and young new employess should be savey enough to invest those contributions wisely, to yield a much better return than the defined benefits system.
8/15/2014 5:33:01 PM
annamas says:
I don't get it. We live in a climate where people want to work, people are willing to work. We see Bombardier fighting for contracts, to keep work local ... and then the workers strike and work slows or stops. Great message being sent to the contract givers ... Bombardier is unreliable. Next time a contract skips Bombardier, and Thunder Bay workers complain about not keeping work local ... I won't be shedding any tears.
8/15/2014 4:55:34 PM
MiniMe says:
People that have no clue should keep their mouth shot. First of all scab workers(management) are not building the cars but put finishing touches.
@boofer69 make up your mind are you pro company or union.
@progress now, technically safe means you can give anybody piece of paper saying they finished crane of forklift training - DOES NOT mean they know what they are doing.
@Unions_were? of course anybody can be replaced:
worker, supervisor director or CEO all the way to prime minister or president. So you want to tell company:OK we will take concessions lets talk?
8/15/2014 4:46:02 PM
Unions_were? says:
This is to let you know that anyone can do unifor jobs
We are not special as we think
We are spendables like anyone else
There is a lot if people with out work that would like
Or know how to do our job
Either we go back to negotiation or we pack it up it is too bad
Am just concerned I guess
8/15/2014 2:44:51 PM
progress now says:
What did Mr. Pasqualino expect to get out of this:

“It may be technically safe but it would be like a new driver reading the drivers’ handbook and being expected to operate the car properly,” he said. “It may be legal but I don’t think it’s safe.”

The work was ok'ed and a done deal.

Is this the way to reach out to management to get talks going again, let alone get them to drop demanded concessions? What is the end game here?

What we appear to be looking at is 1960's negotiating tactics in the 21st century.

It may have worked then, but this isn't then. I don't sense there is much support for the local union leadership out there - but its just my sense.

Lets hope everyone can put the events of this week behind us and start fresh on Monday with goodwill on both sides.

8/15/2014 2:38:26 PM
TBAY Opinion says:
@ Progress now:

"We're gonna picket likes it 1969"

8/16/2014 7:50:20 AM
progress now says:
Then good luck to you... no negative connotations intended.

But its not the picketing its the negotiating.

Lets hope its back to work for everyone soon. If the executive has passed out enough pamphlets in Toronto maybe you will see some progress now pun intended.

8/16/2014 2:37:22 PM
nvjgu says:
How are non Unifor people able to build and work in that plant. last time I checked foreman etc were not able to do hands on. Those cars should not be leaving that plant.
8/15/2014 2:21:22 PM
allaboutthetruth says:
Because the people working on the cars are not foremen, they are supervisors. Just so happens that most of those supervisors worked their way up from the bottom in the plant.
8/16/2014 12:46:14 AM
Shark says:
That's hilarious. There are only 2 supervisors that worked in the plant then went on to be a supervisor. The supervisors or management do not have a clue how to build a car. At Bombardier the supervisor is the person certifying you on a machine. That certification says that you can run it safely and have acquired the knowledge to run it properly. But guess what,they don't have a clue how to turn it on much less run it. Now lets see if your smart enough to figure out the implications. I won't hold my breath.
8/16/2014 1:01:10 PM
bttnk says:
Save it Shark. The inspection found that everything is safe, and Bombardier, one of the worlds biggest companies, isn't about to ship a car that hasn't met the highest quality control and jeopardize their reputation. Take the deal and be realistic.
8/16/2014 7:03:16 PM
boofer69 says:
These guys are looking for any way to force the company into making a deal with them. Good job Bombardier management for continuing to work safely, as I'm sure everyone knew you were all along.
Stay strong union members, don't resort to unnecessary complaints and disruption, just makes you look desperate.
8/15/2014 2:09:41 PM
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