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D-J Composites Lock-out

32 aerospace workers from local 597 were locked out by their American-based employer just before Christmas in December of 2016.

The employer is headquartered in the right-to-work state of Kansas and has been allowed to behave as though its Gander operation is not obligated to follow labour laws.

On December 19, 2017, one year after this shameful lock-out began; Unifor filed a second labour board complaint against D-J composites, and it was found in violation of provincial labour laws for a second time. It had already been found guilty of bad faith bargaining, in May of 2017.

On the one year anniversary, with the help of trade unionists from across North America, a social media thunderclap reached 308 thousand people, and sent a message to the company owner to stop union busting and come back to the negotiating table. Supporters also emailed the Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Labour to meaningfully step in.

The members in Gander wish to thank the hundreds of Unifor locals, trade unions and individuals in Canada for their generous financial and moral support. Help has also come from other unions across North America.

As the members of Local 597 continue to hold the picket line month after month, support is still needed.

Here are two ways you can help to support and defend the right to free and fair collective bargaining in Gander.    

  1. Send an email to Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    2.     Send a solidarity donation in one of two ways:
                 Via e-transfer with security answer local597 (no space)

                Or mail a cheque to Unifor Local 597 with D-J Composites Unit in the memo line to:
                Unifor Local 597 Attn: Carolyn Wrice, PO Box 922, St. John’s NL A1C 5L7.

Campaign Updates

Another violation but no consequences for employer in D-J lock-out

2/13/2018 -

For the second time, the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Board has found D-J Composites in violation of the provincial Labour Relations Act.

However the board did not agree to take any action that would help resolve the lock-out that began 410 days ago for 30 aerospace workers of local 597 in Gander.

“This highlights the complete and total inadequacy of the province’s outdated labour laws which employers use to deny workers their rights. Make no mistake, the government has taken a side in this dispute. It is siding with the American employer,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.

These workers were locked-out by their Kansas State-based employer just before Christmas in December 2016.

Last week the labour board found the employer in violation of section 75 of the Act, but has not yet released its written reasons for this decision.

The only remedy the board applied was to issue a written order to D-J Composites to cease contacting members in a manner that violates the Labour Relations Act, as they did in June when they sent individual offers to return to work, to locked-out members.

Unifor believes the Labour Board needs additional powers in order to deal with employers who blatantly violate laws with no repercussions.

The union has taken its concerns to the Newfoundland and Labrador government, including the premier, to demand legislative changes.

Mediation attempt fails

11/20/2017 -

It is with great frustration to report that an attempt at mediation has failed to produce a resolution for a fair collective agreement for the locked out members of local 597.

Unifor’s bargaining committee has been and continues to be committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable agreement but the employer was not and continues to make demands that disregard seniority rights of workers at D-J Composites and undermines the union. 

336 days into this lockout, and the company’s proposals are neither fair nor reasonable to our 32 members facing another Christmas out in the cold. For example, the employer continues to seek:

  • A merit based wage schedule (conditional pay);
  • A wage offer that would have some members’ wages frozen at their April 1, 2014 wage rate until at least December 2020; and 
  • Workplace reorganization scheme that places workers into classifications, regardless of seniority.

John Roil, an experienced independent mediator was appointed by the Newfoundland government in an effort to mediate a settlement with D-J, an American-based employer that had already been found guilty of bad faith bargaining by the Labour Board.

When the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, Honourable Al Hawkins appointed an independent mediator, he urged both parties (the union and the employer) to “make a determined effort to work with Mr. Roil to bring an end to the dispute,” but the company clearly failed to take that advice.

Unifor’s bargaining committee remains committed to getting our members back on the job by negotiating a fair collective agreement.

Experienced Mediator appointed in D-J Composites lockout

10/27/2017 -

313 days into a lockout of Unifor members in Gander, NL, an experienced independent mediator has been appointed by the Newfoundland government to attempt to resolve the dispute at D-J Composites.

John Roil , is a lawyer with extensive mediation experience and has served on several independent inquiries including the 2011 Vale inquiry in to the lengthy labour dispute in Voisey’s Bay.

“We can only hope that Roil will be able to bring his considerable skill to reach a fair collective agreement in what has been a very long and very difficult ten months for these 32 aerospace workers,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.

In September Payne and other Unifor officials met with the Honourable Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour to request he use his authority under s. 115(1) of the Labour Relations Act to appoint a mediator to try and resolve the dispute or report back on what the obstacles are to a resolution.

The provincial labour department has provided conciliation services since August.

“This is an excellent opportunity to resolve outstanding issues. I urge the parties to make a determined effort to work with Mr. Roil to bring an end to the dispute,” said Honourable Al Hawkins Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour.

Unifor’s bargaining committee is looking forward to working with Roil to get workers back on the job with a fair collective agreement.

Unifor calls on NL Minister to appoint mediator in D-J Composites lock out

10/18/2017 -

St. John’s - Unifor is calling on Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Labour, Al Hawkins, to appoint a mediator, 10 months into a lockout of thirty-two workers in Gander by their American-based employer, D-J Composites.

Click here to read the full media release