THUNDER BAY -- Many striking Bombardier workers are facing their first major family expense since they hit the picket lines 44 days ago.
Students from hundreds of families are expected to be heading back to the classroom before their parents are back to work. Unifor Local 1075 estimates around 500 of the 900 workers now on strike at the local plant have school-aged children.
That fact coupled with the looming back-to-school expenses has led other locals and unions to rally to raise more than $4,500 so far for school supplies.
"We know how expensive it is and so I sent out a letter to our affiliates," Unifor local 229 president Kari Jafford said.
Along with money people have been dropping off all kinds of supplies for kids to head back to school. Jafford said people need to realize that it isn't just the workers who are hit hard by this strike but their families and the community as a whole.
She said it's disappointing that those workers even have to be in this position.
"It's very disappointing that the right wing and the whole right corporate agenda in Canada and the United States is really on the attack of workers and working families," she said. "These good paying jobs weren't' just handed out, they were fought for and negotiated over years and years."
Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said his members appreciate the donations and the dinner that 229 is putting on Wednesday night.
"We're very thankful for that," he said.
Around 20 per cent of those members voted for an offer by the company Tuesday night, a sign that they want to go back to work.
"It's getting difficult," he said.
But first the company and union need to get back to the table and bargain. Bombardier said it was disappointed that workers rejected the offer and that it would have to make tough decisions.
"I have no idea what they're planning. I hope what they are planning is that we go back to the bargaining table and treat us reasonably and fairly," Pasqualino said.