Striking Cascade Aerospace technicians with Unifor Local 114 and their allies from across the Lower Mainland will picket the Aerospace, Defense and Security Expo (ADSE) today in Abbotsford.
The rally begins at 4 p.m. outside of the Tradex building at Abbotsford Airport, according to a union press release.
Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s B.C. area director, said the rally is being held ” to protest the ongoing attempts by Cascade’s owners to cut benefits for new employees.”
“While (MLA) Mike de Jong and (MP) Ed Fast make empty speeches and glad-hand aerospace CEOs, good jobs are being drained from this community,” he said.
“Instead of networking with donors inside the expo, de Jong and Fast should be protecting good jobs in Abbotsford by pressuring Cascade to get back to negotiate a fair agreement after a nine-week strike.”
Cascade issued a press release, stating that it understands the significance of the ASDE event and the upcoming Abbotsford International Airshow to the local community, and “sincerely hopes that the actions of a few will not cause any undue hardship for participants and the general public.”
McGarrigle said, after the expo, which runs Thursday and Friday, the workers will “bring their fight to protect young workers” to the airshow, which takes place from Friday to Sunday.
Members of Unifor Local 114 have been on strike, with a 24-hour picket line outside of Cascade on Townline Road, since June 4.
Cascade stated that while it recognizes the rights of its workers to membership in its union and the right to strike, “we are concerned that the leadership of Unifor has been providing inaccurate or misleading information to the public, industry, and government officials, regarding the true nature of the labour dispute.”
Cascade disputes Unifor’s claim that the union fighting against a campaign to cut benefits of young workers. Cascade maintains that “of the three items tabled related to benefits, two have been resolved in principle (pension and benefits) and only one item, vacation plan, remains outstanding.”
The union represents 440 aircraft maintenance engineers, interior technicians, painters and more.
The union has said workers are mainly concerned with job security and the proposal from the company on “two-tiered compensation” for vacation, pension contributions and severance.
At one point, the company sought a court injunction to keep striking workers off company property, but the court sided with the union.
On July 21, the workers protested outside Abbotsford city hall.
Cascade Aerospace is owned by the Halifax-based IMP Group.