A union local that represents Thunder Bay, Ont. workers who build transit vehicles says a newly ratified collective agreement is good news for the Toronto Transit Commission because it will mean "smooth" delivery of new Bombardier streetcars.
Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075, which represents about 900 workers, said members voted more than 90 per cent in favour of ratifying the three-year tentative agreement with Bombardier.
Pasqualino said provisions contained in the deal, which runs until 2020, will help to improve production of transit vehicles and ensure a stable workforce at the plant.
"It's good news for the TTC because it means we will be able to reach the delivery schedule that we promised them," Pasqualino said on Sunday. "That means we can deliver these streetcars on time."
The union local is pleased that the collective agreement has been ratified.
"We're very happy. We've had some labour unrest in the past and it was nice to see that the mood of the negotiations was a lot more positive this time. We had a fresh group of people on the company side for negotiations and these people are a lot more positive, we had a lot of dialogue and we truly worked to find out solutions to some of the problems we've had."
Pasqualino said one problem experienced by the plant has been the slow delivery of new streetcars to the TTC.
Two provisions to help to speed delivery of streetcars are: a seven-day work week for key work stations at the plant, which is an increase from the current five-day work week; and new classifications for more experienced workers who will train less experienced workers.
"We went into these talks with the needs of the transit services we supply at the top of our mind," he said. "With this collective agreement, we have taken steps to help the company meet its obligations, while improving job security for our members."
The new collective agreement includes a general wage increase of 10 cents per hour for production workers and 30 cents per hour for skilled trades workers. It also includes improvements to some benefits and pension increases.
TTC says it's pleased that deal now ratified
Susan Sperling, manager of corporate communications for the TTC in Toronto, said on Sunday that the transit agency is pleased that the union local ratified the agreement and it bodes well for delivery of new streetcars under a schedule that was revised last year.
"We're obviously pleased that the agreement has been ratified. We remain confident that Bombardier will continue to deliver according to the revised schedule," she said.
The union local represents two groups of workers. The skilled trades workers, of which there are about 120, voted 89.6 per cent in favour of the deal. The general shop workers, of which there are about 780, voted 91.3 per cent in favour of the deal.
The workers build transit vehicles, including streetcars, subway cars and GO Transit trains.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed on the Labour Day weekend in 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.