Friday October 6, 2017
Montreal, QC – The Machinists ‘ Union (IAM) is not surprised by the decision of the United States Department of Commerce (DCEU), which is simply put a copy and paste of last week.
“This decision makes me say again that the dice are loaded on this issue,” deplores the Machinist Union’s Quebec coordinator, David Chartrand. “How should commercial partners such as Canada and Quebec interpret the fact that a U.S. Government department has become an extension of Boeing’s arm and that they use it to attack them economically? If this trend is confirmed, we risk job losses on both sides of the border and if our aerospace industry gets hurt, it is our whole society and the economy that will be affected.”
“Aerospace is the sector that generates the most added value in the economy, explained Chartrand. “Each $1 more in wages and benefits in this industry generates in turn nearly $5 of wages and benefits; each job in the aerospace sector in Quebec generates another job in direct employment in the Quebec economy.”
“I confess to having a hard time accepting the events that have been taking place for the last few weeks,” said Chartrand. “I wonder if these people are aware that in their efforts to eliminate the C-series from the aerospace landscape, they are likely to upset the lives of thousands of workers. We are Aerospace! We have proven that we deserve our place in this industry through our professionalism and know-how, and we will not let anyone destroy what generations of workers in this country have built with the sweat off their foreheads.” Added Chartrand, “I appeal to all the political parties and provincial and federal elected officials to remain on side with the aerospace workers and continue to demonstrate solidarity.”
We must give ourselves the means to put an end to this kind of injustice
Machinists believe that this attack targets our ability to invest in key sectors of our economy. “We have been asking ourselves if the Trump administration is not utilizing this whole masquerade as a strategy to obtain concessions from the Canadian government in the NAFTA agreement renegotiation,” said Chartrand. After Aerospace and softwood lumber what will be the next target? Certainly going forward, no product manufactured here and exported to the United States is safe from protectionism, deplores the Machinists Quebec coordinator.
After 23 years of NAFTA, the integration and interdependence of the economic activities of the North American countries is at such a stage that we can no longer think about settling our trade disputes without developing ways of doing so in an independent framework.
“At the moment, Boeing and the American government behave as if they want to have their cake and eat too,” he said. To put an end to this unpredictable and dangerous behaviour, Chartrand suggests we could give more autonomy and power to chapter 19 of NAFTA and include a mediation phase. “It would be a good way to balance trade relations between the signatory countries, to foster cooperation and compromise, and to prevent the biggest player within the agreement from imposing its decisions on its partners,” concluded David Chartrand.
The Machinists ‘ Union (IAMAW) represents approximately 700 000 members in North America grouped in 1,143 Local Lodges and is present in more than 200 companies in the United States, Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico.
The IAMAW represents 15 000 members in Quebec, and more than 50 000 in Canada, including 16 000 in the air Transportation and aerospace industries. It is the world’s largest aerospace workers’ union.