Unifor members have occupied the Northstar Aerospace plant in Milton, Ont., halting production in a protest over worker pensions as the company prepares to close within two months.
The plant currently produces gears and transmissions for Boeing.
“At the end of the day, this is a company that is closing and our members are going to lose about 25 per cent of our pensions,” said Unifor national president Jerry Dias.
Dias said Northstar and its parent company, Wynnchurch Capital, have been “inherently disrespectful” leading up to the closure by failing to come to the bargaining table and “see how we can find solutions for our retirees.”
A statement released by Unifor accuses Northstar of refusing “to meet the 24 per cent pension shortfall for workers facing job loss.”
“This shortfall will affect future and current retirees, some of whom are already on a fixed income after having worked at the facility for more than 40 years,” it says.
Manny Chhiba says he worked for the company for approximately 28 years and retired about two years ago, and he says he’s upset with the cuts.
“They’ve looked after everybody very well. I’m really surprised that this is happening now,” Chibba said. “Everybody knows the tough times now, and the pensioners are really affected.”
Unifor Local 112 president Scott McIlmoyle says the shortfall is $6 million and he believes it shouldn’t be a problem for the company to fund the pension.
“It’s frustrating,” McIlmoyle said. “As a president of the local union, I have many corporations that we deal with, and we have had some that have closed for one reason or another and they stepped up to the plate to look after the…