THUNDER BAY -- The national president of Unifor says a work stoppage at the local Bombardier plant will hurt both sides.
“There is no reason for a strike here,” Jerry Dias said Sunday. “This is a company whose order books are full, the plant is ripping at the seams and these are well paying jobs. There’s no reason for a dispute at all.”
That being said, he supports the union pursuing job action if the company keeps seeking concessions.
Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino has said his membership will not accept any cuts to benefits or their pensions.
“The company has some concessions on the table that frankly are not going to gain any traction,” Dias said. “We are not going to have 70 per cent of our workforce, which are under five years, retiring without post-retirement plans or change of pension plans.”
The union leader arrived on Sunday to provide assistance to the negotiating committee as they attempt to strike a deal ahead of Monday’s strike deadline.
Workers are expected to walk off the job at 2 p.m. if a deal has not been reached.
Discussions between the two sides resumed Sunday one day after talks became contentious. The union said the company walked away from the bargaining table on Saturday.
Negotiations are expected to continue into the evening and early hours of the morning.
Dias is optimistic a deal can still be struck prior to the deadline but said there are many issues that need to be addressed.
Those include jobs being sourced away from the facility.
“This is a plant that should have even more employees than it does,” he said. “So much of the work that should be performed in Thunder Bay, and is historically performed here is now done in Mexico so that is a real concern.”
Representatives for the company could not be reached for comment early Sunday evening.
In May the workers provided near unanimous support towards strike action if satisfactory progress had not been reached with discussions. Their contract expired May 31.
The union represents close to 1,100 workers at the Thunder Bay plant.