17 September, 2019
For Immediate Release
Delta, B.C. – Approximately 300 workers, members of IAM Local Lodge 11, were locked out by Avcorp Industries at 10:00 pm Monday evening. The company offered no rationale, but simply served the union notice and proceeded with the lockout.
The union and the company have been in bargaining since early January 2019, with about 25 full days of negotiations. Avcorp’s first offer was rejected by the workers by a margin of 100% – a rarity these days. They then conducted a strike vote, with the employees voting 100% in favour of a strike.
The parties went to three days of mediation, but there was no resolution, which prompted the company to apply for a Government-Supervised Final Offer Vote. It was conducted by the BC Labour Board over three days in July and August. The members rejected it by a 98% margin.
“The two main issues are contracting out and seniority retention,” said IAM District 250 Business Representative Paul Pelletreau, who also worked at Avcorp for many years. “Aerospace is cyclical work, and the workers want to know that if they are laid off, they maintain their seniority,” he said. “A laid-off worker can have worked for 5 years, be laid off and then return and have to apply as if they had never worked there – it’s just wrong,” he concluded.
L to R: Roneel Sharma, Carl Hampson, Walter Gerlach, Kent Webster (absent Mas Civitareal)
Avcorp Industries has, over the years, purchased facilities in Burlington, ON and Gardena, CA. The union is not asking for substantive changes in the contracting-out language, but simply to account for the two newer facilities. Members want to be assured that their jobs are protected, when layoffs occur to have recall rights which provide them with some dignity. The IAM is committed to keeping good aerospace jobs in Canada.
In many cases, when IAM members at Avcorp are laid-off, their recall rights expire and they must start again as new employees, losing all wage levels and accrued benefits. The last recall forced workers to take a pay cut of almost $4 per hour. A layoff period can last anywhere from two to four years. Similar work of this high-skilled trade is unavailable in the Delta area.
Local Lodge 11 represents some 450 men and women who work in the aerospace trades at Avcorp Industries in Delta, British Columbia. They joined the IAM in April 1975.
The IAM in Canada represents more than 40,000 Canadian workers in air transport and a wide range of manufacturing including aircraft, auto parts, buses, aerospace, electronics, light and heavy machinery, tools and appliances.
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Paul Pelletreau, IAM District 250 Business Representative
Cell: (604) 839-6309
Frank Saptel, Communications Representative, IAM Canada
Cell: (416) 579-0481