Griffin Wheel workers strike over pension plans and forced overtime

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WINNIPEG – Unifor members who work at Griffin Wheel, a foundry that manufactures train wheels in Winnipeg, went on strike this morning at 9 a.m., after the company’s latest offer would erode pensions, seniority rights and work-life balance issues.

“Our foundry members perform work that is no easy feat. They got this employer through the pandemic working long gruelling days and they deserve a good pension and respect for their hard work,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. 

“Our bargaining committee is fighting hard for our members, but the employer also has a responsibility to come to the bargaining table with the goal of actually getting an agreement that our members can support.”

Members took strike action after the company announced it wanted to go from a Defined Benefit pension plan to a lesser Defined Contribution pension plan or eliminate it completely.

The company also wants to take away seniority rights and members are forced to work overtime shifts at Griffin Wheel three times a week, creating a severe lack of work-life balance.

The 181 members, represented by Local 144, work in melting and processing at Griffin Wheel. They pour, on average, 850 train wheels a day.

"There were some small moves at the table, but the company is holding on to the major issues that most affect our members," says Unifor Local 144 President Liz Sousa. 

“A lot of our members have been working hard, six days a week, for the last two years to help the company out. The way the company is negotiating now is a slap in the face and huge disrespect to their loyal workforce.” 

The bargaining committee said it has tried communicating with the company, but has not received a reply.

The last collective agreement expired March 16, 2024.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative Jenny Yuen at @emailor (416) 938-6157.

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Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative