Unifor members from Northstar Aerospace’s Milton, Ont., operations are occupying the plant and halting production in a dispute over a 24 per cent shortfall in staff pensions.

The takeover of the plant began before dawn this morning, with workers and their supporters maintaining a picket line.

The Illinois-based company is planning to close the Milton location in September, but work at the plant continues in the meantime.

“We have stopped production at this facility until Northstar holds up its end of a commitment, a commitment to the workers who have made this company flourish,” said Scott McIlmoyle, Unifor Local 112 president. A press release from Unifor suggested Northstar is refusing to discuss the pension matter.

Read: Airport workers on strike at Pearson over health benefits

Based on the January 2017 valuation on a termination or windup basis, the plan was funded at approximately 76 per cent. The actual funding level will be determined at the termination date,” said Cammie Peirce, a national representative in Unifor’s pensions and benefits department, in an e-mail. 

“This action sends a clear message to Northstar that the company cannot shortchange workers and the pension of retirees that have made it profitable for so many years. There is no financial reason for refusing to fund the plan. The only excuse is corporate greed,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.

Benefits Canada was unable to reach Northstar for comment this morning.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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