Montréal, QC – It began in Montréal at the beginning of last week, a tour of aerospace plants in what is known as the Québec cluster – Airbus, A J Walters, Bombardier and Rolls Royce. The IAM, the largest union in Canada’s aerospace sector rolled out its vision of aerospace in Canada, now and within the next five to eight years. Called ‘Grounded Potential’ an IAM report on a national aerospace strategy, is a comprehensive document that outlines the contributions of our aerospace sector to the Canadian economy, the need to provide an educational infrastructure to replace the more than 70,000 workers who will retire within six years and the need for direct federal and provincial investment funding in the entire sector and not a select few companies.
“We certainly opened more than few eyes with this report,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall. “This industry contributes over $28 billion to our national economy each year but it’s the best kept secret in the country, it is more than a single company, it employs more than 208,000 people and we think people should know that.
We think it’s important that people should know that more than one third of the current work force will retire within six years but we haven’t got a sufficient education system with the proper equipment to train their replacements. That’s why we’re calling for a National Aerospace Strategy. Aerospace is the leader in research and development, outspending all other manufacturing industries, making this industry a driver of innovation for many other sectors.”
As the IAM toured the Québec plants, copies of the report were distributed to IAM members. “I think the report was well received, it was proof that their union recognizes their contributions and is looking out for their future,” explained Pickthall.
The IAM also met with management. “It’s important that we impress upon management that we have solutions for the industry’s problems and we’re looking to find common ground with all of the industry,” explained IAM Québec Coordinator David Chartrand. “We’re seeking their cooperation so we can work together to convince all levels of government to act. We’re here to grow the industry and if it’s good for the companies it will be good for us. We plan to take this across the country and to Parliament Hill.”
The IAM will lobby politicians in Ottawa at the end of this month.