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Today at 15:16

March planned

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Unifor Local 1075’s bargaining committee plans to rally the troops on Monday, marching from Thunder Bay City Hall to Liberal MPP Bill Mauro’s office.

The demonstration is scheduled one day before striking Bombardier Transportation workers are scheduled to cast ballots in a supervised vote ordered by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, their chance to say yes or no to what the company calls its final offer.

Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said workers are upset that neither Mauro nor his Thunder Bay-Superior North counterpart Michael Gravelle have shown up at the picket line since the strike began more than five weeks ago.

“We feel that they are only friends in good times and not in bad times … We’re disgusted that they have not been down to the picket line. We’re not asking them to pick sides, we’re just asking them to hear us,” Pasqualino said.

“We listened to them during the campaigns and if you look at the votes they had overwhelming support from labour. Now when we have problems, they’re not anywhere to be found.”

In response Gravelle said he’s well aware of the situation on the picket line, but as a cabinet minister, it’s not appropriate to show up and shake hands with striking workers.

“This has been really, really tough,” Gravelle said Thursday, adding he’s sure both sides in the ongoing dispute want to see a settlement reached.

“But we need to absolutely respect the collective bargaining process. And what that means is decisions are made by the union membership and decisions are made by companies. And they need to work that out. To go there and stand in a line is a difficult thing and in our position, not an appropriate measure to take.”

Pasqualino said with or without provincial politicians, the resolve of his members remains strong.

He’s confident workers will vote against accepting the company offer when they vote next Tuesday at the Airlane Hotel.

He said he’s had plenty of one-on-one meetings with his membership and most back the union position.

“The consensus is they’re going to stick it out. They trust the bargaining committee to make the right decisions and they’re all upset.

They know what the offer is and they don’t find it acceptable and they actually are going to vote against this,” Pasqualino said.

The company’s latest offer includes raises that amount to about $4 a week, but also cuts benefits at retirement and switches new hires to a defined contribution pension from the current defined benefit pension, a major sticking point in negotiations.

Pasqualino says the company is top heavy and there are plenty of ways to find efficiencies without affecting past, present and future employees.

At least one union member stands fully behind the committee and the direction it’s taken.

Rick Poole is a veteran Bombardier employee and said he’s convinced the offer and subsequent vote are no more than union-busting tactics put in place to divide the ranks.

“I believe their whole intention is to try to divide this union,” Poole said, promising to vote against the offer and with the bargaining committee.

The company on Wednesday suggested tough decisions could be forthcoming if the offer is struck down by the membership, but it didn’t faze Poole in the least.

“I believe Bombardier is going to have to take a look at what they’ve put on the table for proposals and maybe address some of our proposals and sit down at the table an actually talk instead of talking in the newspaper and just pushing their agenda forward and expecting us to take it,” he said.

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Comments

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jonthunder says:
I respect the position of Minister Gravelle; politicians should not be even seen to be taking sides in and during a labour dispute. If the union wants to communicate with politicians there are many avenues of communication that do not involve a public appearance that could send many different signals.
The union membership should think hard about the proposed pension plan changes. Many employers, including governments are moving towards defined contributions and away from defined benefits - that is what our economic world dictates in these times.
I don't know all of the details, but the pension part of the offer from the company seems within reason to me; but again, I don't know all of the details....hope all parties come to a fair and respectful agreement.
8/21/2014 3:40:46 PM
Dudebro says:
Exactly jonthunder, if Gravelle shows up there, no matter what he does or says , someone will twist it any way they want to make it look like he's taking sides.
Right now, they're all like kids in a candy store and they'll use anything.

Hammer down guys, vote this one down- your days of buying a nice new truck, quad, or taking your family away for a nice weekend out of town are going to be all over.
I for one don't want to see this plant leave Thunder Bay, but if it does there will be no one to blame but yourselves.
These days, peoples finances and personal well being come before other peoples hurt feelings. I'm sure many of the workers are starting to feel it about now.
8/21/2014 4:22:13 PM
nvjgu says:
Boys and girls , it's time for the pay cheque's to start going up. If bombar. packs it in here, then they pack it in. Everything else has. Stuff can't continue to go up and the pay stays the same, vote no. I am a Union member of Sheet metal, SMWIA local 30 Toronto.
8/21/2014 4:30:21 PM
JustMO says:
JustMO says: I think the union should think hard about the people's lively hoods they are gambling with... For what exact reason did this happen? The only thing that's going to come out of this is a locked door to the plant when it's closed and minimum wages for those who can't find other work without the skills you'll need. The union and the company aren't going to care who's eating and who's not after this is rejected. Scary world out there, take it for what it is and be happy you have a paycheck every 2 weeks. I wonder what the strike vote would be now after these past 5 weeks of hell??
8/21/2014 4:37:44 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
To start, NO POLITICIAN should of been anywhere near the picket line. It has nothing to do with them. This is a labour dispute and since they do not directly pay employees they have no say in the outcome. All they did was suggest using Bombardier. Now with that said, you vote seeking puppets should of stayed away. Now didn't Unifor totally back the Liberal party at the last election? Maybe that is why you are on strike today. Think about it.
8/21/2014 5:13:40 PM
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