The specter of a strike hovers at a subsidiary of Airbus which manufactures the cockpit of the A220 in Quebec. The production of the plane assembled at Mirabel could be affected if the Stelia union members put their words into action.
On the recommendation of their union, some 200 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) unanimously rejected the employer’s offer on Sunday. The workers are also given a strike mandate in an effort to increase the pressure on Stelia.
“We feel like we’re going in circles at the table,” says union business agent Éric Rancourt. Listening to the employer, it is as if the union should have proposed rollbacks. It’s completely wacky. »
Negotiations surrounding the renewal of the employment contract, which expired on December 4, began last September.
Stelia and Airbus did not react to the result of the vote on Sunday afternoon. About 100 other Stelia workers in Mirabel, who are part of another certification unit, manufacture the fuselage of Bombardier’s Global 7500 business jet.
This threat of a walkout comes at a time when Airbus wants to accelerate the production rate of the A220, the key to reducing the production costs of the program, which is still in deficit and 25% owned by the Quebec state. The two A220 assembly lines – Mirabel and Mobile (Alabama) – receive the cockpits assembled at Stelia.
There were 17 meetings between the employer and the union party, according to the IAMAW. All of the union’s wage demands were denied, according to Mr. Rancourt.
“Employer representatives don’t seem to understand that a dispute would paralyze all production at Airbus,” he said. This would have a direct impact on its delivery schedule. »
According to the union, the employer was offering wage increases of 2%, 1.75% and 1.75% over the three years of the employment contract. In the current inflationary environment, this proposal is “unacceptable”, according to the IAMAW. The union says Stelia also wanted to see the defined benefit pension plan become a group RRSP.
The Stelia workers who make the A220 cockpits were former Bombardier employees. The company had taken over these activities in addition to welcoming workers from the Quebec aircraft manufacturer when the latter sold its remaining stake in the former C Series to Airbus in February 2020.
The cockpits are now assembled at Stelia, in Mirabel, in the Laurentians.
- Stelia is a subsidiary of Airbus created in 2009. It bore the name Aerolia before adopting that of Stelia in 2015 during its merger with Sogerma.