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New contract bringing 115 jobs to Bombardier plant

A new contract with Metrolinx is expected to ship 115 jobs to the local Bombardier plant.

A new contract with Metrolinx is expected to ship 115 jobs to the local Bombardier plant.

On Tuesday, Bombardier announced a new contract to supply 125 bi-level commuter rail cars worth $428 million to be built for Metrolinx GO Transit in Toronto and Hamilton.

The company estimates production will take place at the Thunder Bay plant starting in the second quarter of 2018, with completion expected in 2020.

In an interview with CKPR Radio Tuesday morning, company spokesman Marc-Andre Lefebvre confirmed the new contract would mean 115 jobs for the Thunder Bay plant.

“These are new jobs for this production line,” LeFebvre said.

“We have to put into context the fact that we announced at the start of the year that the Toronto Rocket cars will be ramping down by the end of this year, and so out of these employees they will be recalling 115 employees to work on the bi-level production line.”

The confirmation of a new contract with Metrolinx is “good news for Thunder Bay,” said Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino.

The bi-level cars are Thunder Bay’s plants bread and butter, Pasqualino said. The local workforce has had excellent track record of building them fast and efficiently since the ‘70s.

The newest generation of the bi-level cars will feature upgrades to door and air conditioning systems, increases in energy efficiency and enhanced amenities.

Pasqualino added that if the company can get the parts in at a faster rate then there’s an opportunity to eliminate the layoffs that have been taking place at the local plant.

He explained that while he was unsure where the company was going, in terms of a production rate, he suspects Bombardier is looking to increase the manpower because of the TTC street car contract.

“The good news for right now and why we would be looking at more employment is because the rate has increased,” he said.