MDA workers launch strike action at company’s global space headquarters

Source, Unifor National

April 9, 2024


BRAMPTON—Fifty workers at MDA’s new global headquarters and space robotics centre launched strike action on April 8 following the company’s refusal to negotiate.

“Fair wages shouldn’t be light years away for workers at an incredibly profitable company such as MDA,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The facility houses some of the most skilled workers in the industry and they deserve a fair contract that reflects their contribution to MDA’s bottom line.”

Unifor represents 50 workers at the facility in a variety of production, skilled trades, office and clerical roles at MDA’s newly built global space headquarters in Brampton, Ontario. They support the company’s space robotics and satellite component manufacturing operations. MDA workers build components and help develop technologies for such iconic space projects as the Canadarm for the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station. MDA is the future home of the third generation Canadarm for use in the Gateway lunar space station.

“All of us at MDA have been part of some of the most important and cherished scientific and technological projects in the last half century which is what makes this strike so painful for us,” said Sebastian Selvagio, Unifor Local 673 plant chairperson at MDA. “In the middle of an affordability crisis, we’re prepared to fight for the fair wages, reasonable cost of living protection, and decent pensions we have rightly earned.”

With the construction of its new Brampton facility, the company sought significant changes to the existing agreement which expired October 1, 2023.  Only a few of the 28 days in negotiations between both parties were spent addressing core economic issues, prompting the union to set a strike deadline for Monday April 8 at 7 a.m. The union requested that both parties negotiate up until the negotiating deadline, however, the company refused to participate.

“MDA’s profits are soaring and CEO Mike Greenly could give himself a 20% pay increase because our members do incredible work every single day,” said Bryan Dunn, Unifor Local 112 plant chairperson at MDA. “It is disrespectful for MDA to refuse to negotiate when we’ve shown nothing but dedication to this company. The company could easily afford the proposals we’ve tabled during bargaining.”

According to MDA’s 2023 financial statements, the company earned more than $807 million in revenue, a significant portion of which is funded by large government contracts, including a federal funding of $2 billion for the Canadarm3 project. MDA also regularly receives generous provincial and federal subsidies, including approximately $25 million from the Ontario government to fund its newly constructed global space headquarters and $132.7 million in available federal investment tax credits.

The union is dedicated to negotiating a fair settlement to the ongoing labour dispute, however, the company has given no indication that it will return to the bargaining table.