A Bombardier Transportation spokeswoman says the union representing striking workers at its Thunder Bay plant has rejected the company’s latest offer to settle the five-week-old labour dispute.
In an email release sent late Sunday night, Stephanie Ash said Bombardier officials met Saturday with Unifor Local 1075 representatives, making what they called their “best and last offer.”
The deal included salary increases, cost-of-living fold-ins, a pension change for early retirement and added details of the proposed defined contribution pension plan for future employees.
“Bombardier Transportation offered Unifor Local 1075 48 hours to review and consider this best and last offer. Unfortunately Unifor Local 1075 decided once again to sharply reject the offer. After making several threats, Unifor also asked the Bombardier Transportation team not to call them again,” Ash said.
The company will now review its options.
“It seems that a new contract agreement will not be possible to achieve through a traditional negotiations process,” Ash said.
In a letter to union members provided to tbnewswatch.com, local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said the company won’t budge on retiree benefits and pensions for next-generation workers, instead offering up small monetary offers as an alternative.
The offer makes anyone hired after Dec. 31, 2010 ineligible for benefits for themselves or their families upon retirement. It would instead provide a $350 lump-sum payment at retirement, $50 more than Bombardier’s previous offer.
“This affects a lot of our members,” Pasqualino wrote.
The offer includes a defined contribution pension, with both the employer and employee paying three per cent, with no lump sum payment at retirement. The union has sought to retain the current defined benefit pension plan.
“This is a terrible DC offer,” Pasqualino said.
Pasqualino accused the Bombardier negotiators of gamesmanship, explaining why the offer was turned down.
“I believe that the company is testing the committee and our members to see how strong it is. The offer was rejected by the committee.”
Union officials also took to social media to voice their displeasure.
“(The) offer was full of concessions and did not address a single union issue. (The) company knew it would be rejected – just playing games,” union representatives said via Unifor Local 1075's official Twitter account early Sunday morning.
“It’s just another attempt to make the union look bad in the media by attempting to make an offer, even if the offer was terrible.”