IAM Fights Offshoring of Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Jobs

A 22-member IAM delegation to traveled to Ottawa to urge the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to send the Air Canada Public Participation Act back to the House of Commons and include changes to protect Canadian jobs. Pictured from left: IAM District 140 President and General Chair Fred Hospes, Grand Lodge Representative and Quebec Coordinator David Chartrand and Quebec Federation of Labor General Secretary Serge Cadieux.

An IAM delegation to a Canadian parliamentary transportation committee revealed flaws in a bill that would allow Air Canada to offshore aircraft maintenance work performed by IAM members. They asked that Bill C-10, or the Air Canada Public Participation Act, be sent back to House of Commons with recommendations to ensure the survival and growth of the aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry.

“In its current form, the act endangers the livelihood of the MRO industry,” said IAM Transportation District 140 President and Directing General Chairperson Fred Hospes. “In particular, this bill explicitly allows Air Canada to change the type or volume of any or all of its aircraft maintenance work as well as the level of employment.”

“Bill C-10 will simply allow Air Canada to move all of its aircraft maintenance and overhaul work abroad,” stated IAM Quebec Coordinator Dave Chartrand. “It will undermine the entire aviation maintenance and aerospace sector in this country. It puts at risk thousands of good-paying, high-skilled, high-tech jobs that could provide employment for Canadians for decades to come.”

The 22-member IAM delegation urged the Committee to send Bill C-10 back to the House and recommended changes in the section concerning maintenance activities and asked that the jobs be kept in Canada. The IAM also urged the government to continue to invest in and support the MRO industry.

“The current version of this legislation is too vague,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall. “It takes away any leverage that any government currently has to maintain Canadian jobs in this country.”

The IAM is the largest union at Air Canada representing 8,000 workers. Although the company has offshored heavy aircraft maintenance, highly skilled members currently maintain the carrier’s fleet on the flight line at facilities across Canada. The legislative changes offered by the IAM would protect those jobs and could promote a return of maintenance to the country.