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Ships Stay Here: Keep Halifax-Class work in Halifax

Update for Unifor-MWF Local 1 Members at Marine Fabricators


Dear members,

Last week, Unifor representatives met with executives at Irving Shipbuilding to discuss the company’s recently-announced plan to outsource work currently done by Unifor members at the Marine Fabricators facility in Dartmouth.

We clearly stated our opposition to their decision to outsource this work. The spirit and intent of the Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy, created by the Harper Conservative government and continued and expanded by the Trudeau Liberal government, was both to rebuild Canada’s aging Naval fleet and to end the boom-bust cycle in Canada’s shipbuilding industry by supporting good jobs here at home. Outsourcing skilled trades work overseas is in direct opposition to this.

The Union learned the commercial contract for pre-assembled pipes has been signed by Irving Shipbuilding and will be in full effect by March 2020. Materials will be shipped from South Korea.

Considerable public support was needed in order to prove the Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy had merit. The original Ships Start Here campaign succeeded in bringing the largest portion of the Naval fleet fabrication contract to the Irving Shipyard, promising thousands of jobs and increased economic value to Nova Scotia. Unifor’s Ships Stay Here campaign fought to keep work in Halifax and maintain employment for the hundreds of skilled tradespeople whose jobs were at risk due to a years-long gap between vessel projects. Nova Scotians supported our campaign because they know the value of good, family-supporting jobs.

We are disappointed in Irving Shipbuilding’s decision to outsource good jobs and will continue to work to protect the work being done by Halifax’s world-class shipbuilders.

Additional meetings with Irving Shipbuilding management are being planned. Unifor will continue to pursue a resolution on behalf of our members.

In solidarity,

Ryan Lapointe, President Unifor-MWF Local 1
Adam Hersey, Business Agent Unifor-MWF Local 1
Chad Johnston, Unifor National Representative


Unifor's Ships Stay Here campaign proves successful in closing the work gap


On May 22, 2019, the federal government announced it will purchase two additional Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), adding to the contract currently underway at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax. The news comes as a relief to MWF-Unifor Local 1 members who ran the Ships Stay Here campaign.

Publicly and behind the scenes, Unifor members at the Halifax shipyard raised​ awareness about the forecasted gap in work between fabrication contracts and pressured the federal government to ensure the work remained steady. This campaign has been a success and Unifor congratulates and thanks the members for their excellent work.

Read the news release here.

Irving Shipyard workers make noise to save jobs


Unifor members at the Halifax Shipyard marched from the yard through downtown Halifax to City Hall to raise awareness about the Ships Stay Here campaign earlier this week.

“Unifor will vigorously defend good shipbuilding jobs for the region and Nova Scotians are keenly aware of the impact the shipyard has on the regional economy, which is why we must all work together to ensure steady employment and stability for families,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director.

Standing on the steps of Grand Parade facing City Hall on Tuesday, Unifor members shared their concerns live on Facebook and spoke to local journalists about the importance of these jobs for the entire Atlantic region.

“It’s essential for the success of the National Shipbuilding Strategy to maintain our skilled workforce right here in Halifax,” said Adam Hersey, Unifor-MWF Local 1 Business Agent. “The repair work on Halifax-class ships is work that will bridge our two major fabrication contracts and is currently supporting 300 jobs.”

Members are concerned some repair work on Halifax-class ships will be sent out of province resulting in hundreds of layoffs.

“Our people are the best people to do this work,” said David Baker-Mosher, President of Unifor-MWF Local 1. “We’ve been doing it for years, and we need to continue doing it to maintain our skilled workforce.”​

After the rally, a resolution was brought inside and presented to Halifax City Council. Reaction to the resolution calling for municipal support was overwhelmingly positive. The resolution was carried with a unanimous vote, an addition to copy every Nova Scotia Member of Parliament on their communication of support, and commitment from Councillor Steven Adams to send the resolution to every other Nova Scotian municipality.

The Unifor Halifax Office has been getting many calls from individuals requesting lawn signs, which can now be seen across the region, supporting #ShipsStayHere.

Supporters are encouraged to visit the campaign website at to sign the petition, which to date has over 2,000 signatures.

Members cover the city with Ships Stay Here signs


Unifor-MWF Local 1 members took to the streets today to get the word out about Ships Stay Here. Hundreds of signs were posted at key intersections around Halifax and on private lawns.

The shipbuilders also took time to speak to local media about the campaign and the importance of keeping the work at the Irving Shipyard.

"We've been doing this work since the ships were built in the 90's and we know these ships inside and out," Ryan Lapointe, Chief Shop Steward at Local 1 told CTV News.

If you live in the Halifax area and would like a lawn sign to display on your property, please contact the Unifor Halifax Office by email or phone.