Bombardier, Union Reach Tentative Labor Agreement

Global 5000
Credit: Bombardier

Bombardier Aviation and members of Unifor’s Local 112 and 673, on strike since July 27, have reached a tentative labor agreement with the company. 

Union members, who work on Bombardier’s Global series business jets, vote July 30 on whether to accept the new three-year contract and end the work stoppage. The union represents 1,500 union members at Bombardier’s Downsview plant on the north side of Toronto. 

The agreement does not cover Unifor Local 112 and 673 members who also walked off the job in a strike at De Havilland Aircraft Canada on July 27. The union represents 700 workers there. 

“Reaching a settlement with Bombardier brings us one step closer to resolving the labor dispute at Downsview,” says Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. “Our union can now focus all of its efforts on reaching an agreement with De Havilland.” 

The agreement expands the scope of union work and restricts the use of contractors, replaces some jobs lost in the event of the move of work, provides training on new technologies, strengthens the grievance process, increases pensions and allows laid-off De Havilland workers to join a Bombardier recall list under certain conditions. 

Bombardier said in a statement that it is pleased to confirm an agreement with the union. “Upon ratification, the mutually beneficial agreements will help secure the future of aerospace manufacturing in Toronto,” it says. “We would also like to acknowledge and recognize both the Bombardier and Unifor bargaining committee members who worked tirelessly with professionalism, dedication and patience in pursuit of these agreements. Our united team’s talent and skill are proudly showcased around the world every time a Global aircraft takes off.” 

Union members gave their representatives a strong mandate, says Maryellen McIlmoyle, president of Unifor Local 673. “After a difficult set of negotiations, we have managed to reach a tentative agreement with Bombardier. We remain at the table determined to continue negotiations with De Havilland.” 

Unifor-represented workers struck both companies, citing pensions, the use of contractors, the erosion of union work at Bombardier and the future of De Havilland’s Dash 8 program as its main concerns. The union also expressed concern about the sale of the Downsview site in 2018 and plans by both companies to exit the facility. 

“Put simply, from the moment of that land sale, aircraft manufacturing at Downsview was on borrowed time,” De Havilland officials said recently in a statement. De Havilland says it is optimistic about its future and that of the Dash 8 program. “However, the company cannot and will not rush to a decision on [a] future production location, nor negotiate a site plan in public.”

The company said its negotiating team remains at the bargaining table.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.