Bombardier's Thunder Bay plant works to speed up streetcar deliveries
Mass transit vehicles destined for Toronto have been delayed
A local union leader says he expects a boost in productivity at Thunder Bay's Bombardier plant after some changes, aimed at speeding up the delivery of the Toronto streetcars.
Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said the union is working "hand in hand" with the company to get streetcars destined for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) delivered faster.
New management at the local plant has increased the number of shifts; they also seem more willing to work with the union, said Pasqualino.
"Now, we're looking at having three shifts on that operation which is excellent, and it seems that they're a lot more receptive to some of the suggestions of the workers," Pasqualino said.
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The union leader would not delve into specifics of changes suggested by workers but said some of them have something to do with a better supply of tools and equipment.
There are about 900 to 950 Unifor workers at the Thunder Bay plant, which has been making streetcars for more than 40 years, said Pasqualino.
Earlier this month, Bombardier told the TTC they would not be able to deliver the latest batch of streetcars on time.
"We all understand that they're overdue but our people here that we have working on the line are probably some of the most experienced people in North America to build the cars," Pasqualino said.
The union leader added that a lack of proper parts has slowed down the process.
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"Certainly, the problems that Bombardier is facing aren't with the plant here in Thunder Bay at this time," Pasqualino said.
The TTC has threatened legal action against Bombardier, adding the company may be barred from future contracts.
"It's not good talk," Pasqualino said.
The union leader said he is confident production times will improve with the new changes.
Only 16 new streetcars will be on Toronto streets by the end of 2016 despite a promise from Bombardier to deliver 23.