After more than 22 months on strike, Unifor members at Local 1209 continue their fight against Delastek, in Grand-Mère, a Quebec-based employer. Delastek, a subcontractor in the aerospace industry, notably for Bombardier, has been able to continue its operations, despite Quebec’s anti-scab law.
“This dispute demonstrates the complete power imbalance between a unionized group and the employer when scabs do the jobs of unionized workers,” explained Quebec Director Renaud Gagné.
The dispute is rooted in the division of work between production, covered by the collective agreement, and research and development, which is not part of the bargaining unit. In the union’s view, it is clear that workers in research and development are doing production work and prolonging the strike.
During a visit to the company by Labour Department inspectors, the workers in the plant claimed they were working on parts intended for the CSeries and that these parts came under research and development. However, Unifor learned from workers in the CSeries shops that the aircraft is no longer in development but rather in the production phase. If this is the case, the work currently being performed is in contravention of the law.
Unifor has appealed to Bombardier to assist in ending the strike but it has refused to interfere in the labour dispute or with the Quebec government, which owns a stake in the CSeries.
Hope remains. Gagné said, “We are awaiting the report of the government inspectors, after which we will take the appropriate action in the courts.”