ABBOTSFORD, BC, June 4, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 400 skilled workers at Cascade Aerospace began a legal strike action at 11 am today after talks with the employer broke down. Workers have started rolling their tool benches out of the workplace by the hundreds.
"We've been working through the night trying to reach a deal that is fair for all parties, but we have reached a standstill. Our members won't accept concessions from a company as profitable as Cascade," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC area director.
Cascade Aerospace, owned by the Halifax-based IMP group, is the primary contractor for the Department of National Defence's repair and overhaul on the DND Hercules heavy transport plane fleet covering the Lockheed Martin C130 E, H and the new J models. The Unifor workers also help the company repair commercial aircraft for firms including CanJet and Lynden Air Cargo and are currently working on two Lockheed Martin C130 cargo planes for the Mexican government.
After reviewing a leaked document that shows the company is planning to continue operations during the strike, Unifor is concerned that other workers will be rushed in to do the work normally done by its members.
"Our members are highly skilled and the ones best suited to do this highly specialized work. We think that customers and military personnel who will ultimately be using and flying in these aircraft have a right to know that the people doing the repairs have the necessary skill and experience," said McGarrigle.
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, with more than 305 000 members including over 10 000 working in the Aerospace industry.