An ‘in­sult­ing’ of­fer

Union­ized work­ers at IMP’s Amherst plant re­ject com­pany pro­posal

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY DARRELL COLE [email protected]­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

There could be some labour un­cer­tainty at one of Amherst’s largest em­ploy­ers af­ter work­ers at IMP Aerostruc­tures re­jected the com­pany’s lat­est con­tract of­fer.

Richard Allen, pres­i­dent of Lo­cal 4883 of the United Steel­work­ers of Amer­ica, said union­ized em­ploy­ees voted more than 80 per cent be­fore the hol­i­days against the fi­nal com­pany of­fer.

“The of­fer is any­thing but fair, in fact, it’s in­sult­ing,” Allen told the Amherst News.

Allen said the union’s 204 work­ers have been mak­ing high­qual­ity parts for the aero­space in­dus­try for more than 25 years, but the com­pany is insisting its mem­bers who are age 65 and older will have their life in­surance cov­er­age re­duced by 50 per cent and their long-term dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits elim­i­nated in ad­di­tion “to in essence stand-pat wages.”

Allen said the union mem­ber­ship in­cludes nu­mer­ous em­ploy­ees who would lose ben­e­fits if the of­fer were ac­cepted. He said the union sim­ply can­not ac­cept the com­pany’s of­fer.

“To us it’s cruel and un­usual pun­ish­ment that does noth­ing to re­ward years of hard work by its loyal and skilled work­ers,” Allen said.

The two sides had been in con­cil­i­a­tion for sev­eral weeks.

Sev­eral weeks ago, the mem­bers voted over­whelm­ingly in favour of tak­ing strike ac­tion. As of press time, Allen said a strike date had yet to be set. He said the union wants to go back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble and is urg­ing the com­pany to re­turn to the ta­ble “and make a rea­son­able of­fer that re­spects the dig­nity of the work­ers and the loy­alty they’ve shown over the years.”

Com­pany of­fi­cials could not be reached for com­ment by press time.

IMP Aerostruc­tures was the scene of a bit­ter strike in early 1994. Work­ers came close to go­ing back on the picket line sev­eral years later but a last-minute deal brought about labour peace that has lasted up un­til this point.

In 2015, the com­pany and the union were able to ham­mer out a new col­lec­tive agree­ment af­ter a day-long ne­go­ti­at­ing ses­sion in which both sides agreed to con­ces­sions to avert a strike.

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