Unifor members ratify deal with De Havilland, ending 3-month strike

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | October 27, 2021

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

A three-month-long strike at De Havilland Aircraft of Canada’s Downsview facility in Toronto officially ended on Oct. 25, after Unifor Local 112 and 673 members ratified new agreements.

On July 27, 700 De Havilland workers walked off the job. Negotiations centered on the company’s plans to leave its current production location at Downsview, ending production of the Dash 8 aircraft.  

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Dash 8 silhouette
Negotiations centered on the company’s plans to leave its current production location at the Downsview plant, ending production of the Dash 8 aircraft. Michael Durning Photo

Back in February, the aircraft manufacturer announced it would pause production of its Dash 8-400 turboprop at its Downsview facility once orders for the type this year are built. The decision was made due to current industry conditions and decreased demand.  

The Downsview facility, which was previously owned by Bombardier, was being leased by De Havilland Canada. The lease was set to expire in late 2021, and the manufacturer began preparations earlier this year to leave the site.

“In the absence of a commitment to resume production, the agreements provide union members with financial compensation, including retirement incentives, restructuring packages, and enhanced severance packages that double the Employment Standards Act minimum,” a Unifor press release reads.

“The agreements also include preferential hiring provisions for union members should production of the Dash 8 resume.”

Unifor Local 112 president, John Turner, said: “We know severance doesn’t replace a good-paying job or help pass on highly valuable skills from one generation to the next. That’s why our union will continue advocating for protecting our advanced manufacturing jobs.”

According to the Unifor press release, the newly ratified agreements cover both Unifor Local 112 members who work in production and Local 673 members working in office, technical, and professional positions at the plant.

The deal also preserves roughly 50 jobs at a new office location, which will be kept within an 80-kilometer (50-mile) radius from Downsview, as per the agreement.

“Despite the company exiting Downsview, it was crucial that we secured an office space within a reasonable radius of the plant and maintain a presence for our bargaining unit,” said Maryellen McIlmoyle, Unifor Local 673 president. “We know the economy will recover in the future and, when it does, this space will be an important opportunity to rebuild.”

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