Bombardier Cuts Deal Major Blow to Unionized Workforce in Toronto

April 2, 2009, 1:44 PM EST

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The announced job cuts at Bombardier's Downsview facility in the north-end of Toronto will deal a heavy blow to the unionized workforce in the plant, said CAW President Ken Lewenza. 

At a meeting held earlier today, the company informed the union that of the 475 jobs expected to be cut, 420 of those will impact the plant's unionized workforce, Lewenza said. Unionized workers at Bombardier's Downsview facility are represented by CAW Local 112 (production and skilled trades) and Local 673 (office and technical). All of the job cuts are expected to be made before the end of this year.

"This is devastating news for our members and for the community of Downsview," Lewenza said. "As always, our union will work diligently to minimize the pain on our members by exploring various incentives and retirement package options to protect the jobs of our more vulnerable, junior members."

Bombardier announced today it will cut 10 per cent of its global aerospace workforce, or about 3,000 workers at locations in Mexico, Northern Ireland, the United States as well at its Downsview facility. CAW Director of Aerospace Dawn Cartwright said the company cited the current global economic crisis and subsequent drop in business jet sales as the primary reason for the layoffs. Bombardier's Downsview facility produces the company's Global Express business jet and Q400 TurboProp. The facility also produces the Q200 and Q300 series aircraft, which is set to cease production in June of this year.

Despite the devastating news, today's layoff announcement should send a loud message to the federal government to ensure that the over $3 billion in public funds earmarked for new DND fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft is spent in Canada to protect Canadian aerospace jobs, said CAW Local 112 President Roland Kiehne.

"We've been hollering at the federal government for years, demanding they reinvest public funds back into the Canadian economy to protect workers from economic downturns, just as we're seeing today," Kiehne said. "Now, more than ever, we need the government to show support for our domestic aerospace industry, and help save jobs at our Bombardier plant."

The CAW and Bombardier are in the early stages of collective bargaining negotiations, with the existing contract set to expire in June. CAW Local 673 President Maria Pinto said retirement packages and severance incentives will undoubtedly be a major issue at the bargaining table.


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