Almost one month into a strike by 900 Unifor workers at Bombardier's Thunder Bay, Ont., plant, the company moved three Toronto Transit Commission subway cars through the picket line on Tuesday for delivery to Toronto.

The first two cars were shipped out on Tuesday morning and a third in the afternoon.

"It's a very sad day for the plant," said Unifor local president Dominic Pasqualino. "It's the first [transit] car in history that's been built by management that's leaving the plant."

Striking workers on the picket line said union members had completed most of the work on the cars before they went on strike, but managers finished them.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier had told CBC News previously the company is trying to ship as many Rocket subway cars and streetcars to Toronto as it can.

Brenda Gerry

Brenda Gerry, who has worked on the TTC subway cars, says she's sad to see the cars finished by management and shipped during the strike. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Striking worker Brenda Gerry told CBC News, "I just want people down in Toronto to not ride these vehicles and I also want the people of Thunder Bay to stand behind us and support us. [I] just want to get back to work sooner rather than later."

'Blatant disregard' of court order

More than 100 Unifor workers watched as flatbed trucks carried the subway cars out of the plant. The majority were relatively quiet and Pasqualino said they were obeying a revised court order issued Friday governing behaviour on the picket line.

A Thunder Bay police officer intervened when some workers blocked the second truck after it turned onto Montreal Street. The truck started moving again, but with workers walking slowly in front of it. 

Police at Unifor picket line

Police intervened as pickets blocked one of the trucks carrying a subway car after it turned onto Montreal Street, outside the Thunder Bay Bombardier plant. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Bombardier spokeswoman Stephanie Ash said that was unacceptable and showed a "blatant disregard" for the court order. 

"That car was delayed for 30 minutes, which is completely over and above the five-minute maximum wait time [in the court order]," she said. 

Ash said the first car had moved out more smoothly, with a delay of about 10 minutes. But she said delays weren't the only issue. 

"Members were cutting across in front of the transport truck," she said. "This is really dangerous behaviour. We're just really happy that no one was injured today."

Bombardier to seek injunction

Ash also said the company had video evidence of workers using foul language and "verbal harassment towards the police as well as the drivers of the vehicles."

As a result, Ash said, Bombardier will head back to court to seek an injunction against the striking workers.

That will be the company's third request for an injunction. Two previous judges have issued court orders to enforce picket line rules, but have not gone as far as an injunction.  

Subway cars leaving Bombardier

Police escorted trucks carrying two subway cars away from the Bombardier plant on Tuesday morning. A third car shipped in the afternoon. (Nicole Ireland/CBC )


Ash said the company told Unifor at the negotiating table that it would continue to build products if workers went on strike. 

"We have contractual commitments to our customers at the TTC and the whole focus is about minimizing that disruption on the customers," she said. 

In an email to CBC News later in the day, Ash said a third subway car had shipped out on Tuesday afternoon "without incident."

Both the union and the company said they want to get everyone back to work, but there's no sign that negotiations will resume.