THUNDER BAY – As more than 500 workers at the Thunder Bay Bombardier plant wait to learn if they will be among those laid off in November, executives with the company say they remain committed to the local operation and will continue to work to provide a vision for an optimistic future.
It was announced on Wednesday that 550 workers of the more than 1,100 at the Thunder Bay Bombardier plant will be served with layoff notices on Thursday. The layoffs will take effect the first week of November.
“I don’t think it’s much of a surprise,” said Keith Monty, who has worked in the warehouse at the plant for eight years. “There has been a lot of talk on the shop floor. We knew there was going to be layoffs coming from the way things have been going here.”
Two major contracts with Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission are expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and the company and Unifor said earlier this year that if no additional contracts are signed, there would be layoffs.
Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075, said all the members were aware the contracts were coming to an end, but that doesn’t make the news of layoffs any easier to swallow.
“They are concerned about making their mortgage payments and being able to take their kids to hockey,” he said.
“I don’t have any good answers other than we have talked to every level of government and we will continue to talk to them. I know Bombardier treasures this plant. We’ve produced a lot of cars for them in the past and I think it’s a money maker for Bombardier. The quality is good, the production rate is good, and it’s important the government responds to that.”
For more than six months, Bombardier has been in discussion with all levels of government to secure contracts. The federal government urged the province to protect jobs in Thunder Bay, while last month, the province sent a mandate letter to Metrolinx to order 36 new bi-level cars to be built at the plant.
After the 550 layoffs were announced, the federal and provincial governments pointed the fi
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