Prime minister, premier called out to support De Havilland strikers

Unifor National President Jerry Dias speaks at De Havilland rally.

August 24, 2021

TORONTO – Unifor National President Jerry Dias is calling on the prime minister and the Ontario premier to state publicly that there will be no government money for De Havilland if Unifor members are not building the Dash-8 airplane.

“I’m reaching out to Justin Trudeau today and saying Justin you better come out today to say that not one nickel of federal government money will ever see the pockets of Longview if they try to screw the 700 families in Downsview,” Dias told a rally of striking De Havilland workers and supporters today.

Members of Unifor Locals 112 and 673 have been on strike since July 27. Parent company Longview Aviation Capital announced earlier this year it would no longer build the new Dash 8-400 aircraft at the Downsview plant. Dias said the Dash-8 program has long relied on government support, and that both levels of government need to make it clear those days are over without a fair deal.

“The province didn’t put hundreds of millions of dollars into this program so the jobs could go to Alberta,” Dias said.

In Thunder Bay, Premier Doug Ford called moving the Dash-8 out of Ontario “disgusting” and vowed to fight any such move.

Speakers at the rally pointed to the 700 families who rely on the plant to support their families, and called on Longview to return to the bargaining table.

“You might have bought the De Havilland name, but it was the workers who built that name,” said Local 673 President Maryellen McIlmoyle. Local 112 President Scott McIlmoyle said these have been “by far the most frustrating” negotiations he has ever encountered. “Longview has folks at the table who can’t make decisions,” he said.

Despite a court injunction limiting picketing last week, Dias said no one will be allowed into the plant until a deal is reached.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.