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Airbus union members in Mirabel reject a second offer from management

A worker in Mirabel, Que. works on the Airbus A220. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press) A worker in Mirabel, Que. works on the Airbus A220. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press)

For the second time on Sunday, union members at Airbus Canada in Mirabel overwhelmingly rejected a management offer to renew their collective agreement, which expired last December.

Mirabel workers, represented by Local Lodge 712 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), met in Laval on Sunday and voted 99.9 per cent against the new management offer, following the recommendation of their bargaining committee.

Of the 1,300 workers represented by this section, 79 per cent voted, representing more than 1,000 union members.

On March 17 this year, 99.6 per cent of workers voted against the company's first offer.

"Several aspects of the employer's offer are still unsatisfactory according to the workers, despite improvements in wages since March," said Éric Rancourt, spokesperson at the bargaining table and IAMAW Canada representative for Quebec. "The remaining issues are wage catch-up over the past few years with (inflation) and soaring prices."

"There is also the indexation of the pension plan to the cost of living, work schedules, group insurance, job security, outsourcing and the length of the contract is also an issue," said Rancourt.

The union members at Airbus Mirabel work on the A220 aircraft, which Airbus Canada hopes to make profitable by 2026.

"The people who work on the A220 have made a lot of sacrifices over the past 20 years to ensure the success of the program. What they want now is a return on their investment in terms of improved working conditions," said Rancourt.

The union is planning a "riposte" as of Monday morning, but Rancourt did not want to reveal these pressure tactics in order to preserve the "element of surprise."

However, there is still no question of a strike, as negotiations between the two parties also resume on Monday.

"We're giving ourselves one last chance to reach a negotiated agreement. As far as the union is concerned, we are open to dialogue, but it will now depend on the employer's attitude at the table tomorrow (Monday)," said Rancourt.

Airbus Canada reacted to the union vote on Sunday by saying it was "determined to continue the dialogue that has begun" with the aim of "finding an agreement that suits both parties and ensures the long-term success of the A220."

"We submitted a new improved offer to the union on March 29. The dialogue at the table is open and constructive, but there is still a gap between the Syndicat's demands and the A220's current financial capacity, which has not yet broken even. We acknowledge the results of the vote and remain committed to reconciling the interests of our employees with the economic imperatives of the A220," said Annabelle Duchesne, Head of Communications at Airbus Canada, in an e-mail.

The Mirabel workers' collective agreement expired on Dec. 1, 2023, and discussions with management began last November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 7, 2024. Top Stories

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