MDA Space, Unifor Return to the Bargaining Table (Updated)

Unifor Local 112 and 673 on strike at MDA Space headquarters in Brampton, Ontario. Image credit: Unifor.

MDA Space and Unifor have agreed to return to the bargaining table on May 22, 2024, according to a May 21, 2024 email sent to SpaceQ by Unifor National Communications Representative David Molenhuis. According to the union, about 50 Unifor Local 112 and 673 members have been on strike at the company’s headquarters in Brampton, Ontario since April 9th.

“In the days leading up to the strike, the company walked away from the table and informed the union that it would not participate in any further negotiations. Issues that remain on the table include inadequate wage increases, no increase to pension contributions and a lack of protection against the rising cost of living,” said an April 19, 2024 Unifor news release. “Just days ago MDA CEO Mike Greenley boasted of the company’s ‘first double’, recently growing revenue from $400 million to $800 million. MDA projects 2024 revenues to rise to $950 million – $1.05 billion, representing a 25% increase mid-point over 2023.”

On May 16, 2024, Unifor National President Lana Payne spoke about the strike at a rally held outside MDA Space’s Brampton headquarters. “While MDA Space is busy bragging about the company doubling its revenues over the past few years, workers have been on the picket line for more than month fighting for a fair contract,” she said. “This rally is about making it clear why MDA Space is successful — because of its highly skilled and dedicated workers and the generous regime of subsidies and contracts funded by public dollars that help create good Canadian aerospace jobs.”

“To be perfectly clear, MDA Space is profitable and more than capable of settling this dispute with 50 of its most hard-working and devoted workers,” Payne added. “Prolonging this dispute not only threatens the important space projects our members are part of, but it will also undoubtedly blemish Canada’s reputation as a global leader in aerospace research and technology.”

Asked for the employer’s side of the story, MDA Vice President Corporate Communications Amy MacLeod sent SpaceQ a statement that read, “MDA Space has been actively engaged in a scheduled period of collective bargaining discussions with Unifor, which represents a portion of our employees in Brampton. Despite best efforts, an agreement has not yet been reached and Unifor has commenced work action against the company. MDA Space fully respects the bargaining process and remains open to constructive discussions with the Unifor Negotiating Committee to find a path to an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. These collective bargaining discussions are specific to MDA Space employees represented by Unifor and associated with the company’s Brampton facility and do not affect other MDA Space locations or operations.”

Unifor describes itself as being Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers across various industries.

Update: We’ve been informed that 160 workers at MDA Space’s Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec facility went on strike on May 8, 2024.

About James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning satellite communications writer. He has covered the industry since the 1990s.

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