Strike averted at Bombardier in Montreal: third employer offer accepted

Helen Moka and Lia Lévesque, Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Fear of an indefinite general strike among Bombardier’s 1,800 union workers in the greater Montreal area is now a thing of the past.

The latter on Wednesday 73.4% voted in favor of the employer’s third proposal since the start of this round of negotiations.

According to a spokesperson, just over 80% (80.3) of IAMAW Local Chapter 712 members voted between 05:00 and 19:30 for this new so-called final proposal, the only change of which was the salary question. For the International Union of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), affiliated with FTQ, representing these 1,800 employees of the Dorval and Saint-Laurent factories in Bombardier.

“Although the proposal has been accepted, Bombardier will have work to do in the next five years to regain workers’ trust and rebuild a sense of belonging,” said Éric Rancourt, trade representative for the trade union party and District 11. Via IAMAW’s Wednesday evening press release.

Significant salary increases

The new collective agreement will be valid for a period of five years and until December 2026.

It provides an average salary increase of 6.5% for the first year and 3% per annum for the second and third years, retrospectively until December 4, 2021. The employer also submits the Consumer Price Index plus 0.5% for the last two years of the new employment contract, with a minimum total of 1.5% and a maximum total of 3%.

Other elements of the employment contract are the same as those presented at the meeting on 11 June 2022.

“Beyond salaries, we went to seek assurances that no assignments would be outsourced over the next five years, in addition to bringing jobs from subcontractors to our members,” Mr. Rancourt said.

“We also took a clause to reduce overtime during layoffs to encourage the quick return of workers on the recall list,” he said.

These 1,800 union members of Bombardier in Quebec rejected the previous employer’s offer on June 11, which was also described as final, by 76%.

Union members even went on a one-day strike on June 13, before returning to work the next day to continue negotiations.

That’s why the union last week requested that President and CEO Eric Martel be present at a bipartisan meeting to prevent an indefinite general strike from erupting at the two factories in Quebec. According to the company, Bombardier’s big boss had accepted the invitation.

The main points of disagreement concerned the indexation of salaries and pensions. The employer wanted the union to be clear about the duration of the collective bargaining agreement.

“Indexing the pensioner’s pension is an issue close to our hearts and has sparked heated debate at the bargaining table,” said Christian Bertrand, President of Local 712.

“It is a disappointment to be unable to get Bombardier to listen to reason (…) nothing to stop us from returning to blame during the next negotiation,” said Mr. Bertrand.

employer is satisfied

Not surprisingly, the company said it was pleased with the outcome of Wednesday’s vote and pledged to continue working with union members to maintain its “industry leading position”.

“The ratification of the new collective agreement demonstrates the mutual commitment to the success of the Bombardier facilities in Montreal, where employees of IAMAW Local Lodge 712 work. Bombardier firmly believes that the success of the company depends on the quality of its products and the experience and dedication of its employees.

Bombardier is a global aviation leader focused on the design and manufacture of business aircraft and the provision of related services. Bombardier’s Challenger and Global family of aircraft are known for their cutting-edge innovations. According to the company, Bombardier’s global aircraft fleet has about 5,000 aircraft.