(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Despite what has been said in the media regarding Bombardier as of lately, we have obtained information from inside the company which is concerning.
A source which has leaked information from the local plant is saying that there is not much work from the the United States for about 5 to 7 years. Further, Bombardier is not too excited to ramp up production for the 36 bilevels the TTC needs as it is not a significant order.
Small batches of “layoff notices” are expected to be handed out tomorrow, Thursday July 11th. All 550 employees marked for layoffs will be let go by November, according to our source in Bombardier.
Below is a email TRCCTB.COM has obtained which explains the situation a bit more. Following that is a statement released by the City of Thunder Bay.
Today, I was at our Thunder Bay plant to meet with our employees and make an announcement that was not easy, which is the termination of 550 employees effective on November 4, 2019. The AME Leadership Team and I fully understand the impact of such an announcement on our employees and our community.
This decision is due to the cyclical nature of our business and the ramp down of our two high cadence programs. Metrolinx BiLevel and TTC LRV are synchronized and both programs will be ending within a few weeks of each other with no orders to follow.
To mitigate the inevitable situation we are facing today, since the fall of 2018, we have proactively reached out and engaged with all three levels of Government (Federal, Provincial and the City of Toronto) to ensure that today’s announcement would not come as a surprise to anyone we met with. We met with the Ontario Premier’s office and various Ontario government ministries and officials to emphasize on numerous occasions about the importance of our Thunder Bay plant sustainable viability and the role it plays in the community. We appreciate their willingness to meet with us. Our engagement efforts were supported by important local stakeholders including the Mayor, Councillors, UNIFOR, the Economic Development Commission, the Chamber and so many others.
Our conversation with the province has resulted in the offer to enter into a commercial agreement for the delivery of 36 BiLevel cars. Theses negotiations have been progressing over the last three weeks. We appreciate the provincial government support and look forward to a successful outcome in the very near future.
As for the current contract with TTC, we have made significant investments, over $20M, to double our delivery rate in order to meet the 2019 target. As of July 2019, 166 streetcars have been produced for the TTC and we are fully committed to the overall delivery of 204 cars by the end of 2019.
Recently, for Q2, we were able to produce and deliver 23 streetcars, which is one more than our commitment to the TTC. The Thunder Bay Plant has increased its performance significantly since 2016 and the vehicles they are producing are safe, comfortable and reliable.Advertisement
We also announced today a workforce reduction of 87 employees at our La Pocatière plant, effective in September 2019.
This decision is a result of the decrease in production activities at the La Pocatière plant in light of the end of contracts for the New York subway cars and the Toronto and Edmonton light rail vehicles.
During the manufacturing process of the New York subway cars, 1,300 employees on three different shifts worked at the La Pocatière plant. Today, such a scenario is no longer possible due to the American regulations. US-based contracts must now be largely produced in the United States.
In addition to the cyclical nature of our business, we must also deal with the local content requirement threshold in the United States, which is now at 65% and will be at 70% this fall due to the Buy America Act. In 2019, to deal with a 70% local content requirement threshold in the United States, a company like Bombardier has no choice but to have an American manufacturing footprint and supply chain. Therefore, we cannot fully leverage our Canadian manufacturing footprint and expertise.
We continue to work with our partners and the community to bring significant new contracts. We are committed to our Thunder Bay and La Pocatière plants and we are doing everything we can to minimize impacts.
Today’s announcements are not easy ones. However, we remain hopeful that we can secure new work to ensure the commercial viability of the important presence of our manufacturing plants.Advertisement
David Van der Wee
Chief Operating Officer, Americas Region
Below is a statement released just minutes ago by the City of Thunder Bay.
Following the announcement of significant pending job losses at the local Bombardier plant, the City will continue to do everything within its power to support residents and maintain the economic stability of Thunder Bay and the region.Advertisement
“We have been talking to everybody who is relevant to this situation and working hard for some time,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “We would like to see all parties work together to come to an agreement that would see jobs remain at the Thunder Bay plant.”
“Our work, since being elected, was to ensure everyone connected to the Bombardier file was aware of the contracts coming to an end. We now will transition to doing everything we can to ensure the long-term viability of the plant.”
Bombardier is the largest private-sector employer in Thunder Bay and plays an important role in both the community and economy.
“It is a very difficult day for Bombardier employees and their families,” added Mayor Mauro. “The City will do everything it can to support the plant and the workers. I talked with Minister of Transportation Mulroney this afternoon. I underscored the importance of our plant to be positioned to bid on future contracts and that a Canadian Content policy is fundamental to any future success we can achieve.”
“The City recognizes the gravity of the situation and its impact on citizens,” said City Manager Norm Gale. “Thunder Bay has always proven to be a resilient city and we will continue to address the needs of our community.”
While all efforts are being made to address the job losses, the City continues to work on growing and diversify its economy through the Community Economic Development Commission.Advertisement
The City, through the Mayor’s Office and Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee, will continue to work with all levels of Government regarding the future of the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay.
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.