Boeing workers keep pensions

Winnipeg plant one of two keeping old plan
By Zachary Pedersen
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 08/08/2011

Production and skilled trades workers at the Boeing aerospace facility in Winnipeg narrowly avoided a strike last month, reaching an agreement with management just hours before a midnight strike deadline.

The news comes in contrast to the labour dispute experienced by neighbouring airplane manufacturer, Bristol Aerospace, the month before. Workers at Bristol returned to work after a nine-week strike and received wage increases of only two per cent a year for the next three years. Boeing employees will see an increase of two per cent in each of the first two years, two and a half per cent in the third year and a $1,500 signing bonus.

As is often the case lately, Boeing’s pension plan persisted as the contentious issue between parties in negotiations. The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union managed to secure the current defined benefit (DB) pension plan for future hires, despite company demands to introduce a new defined contribution (DC) plan. For the Winnipeg workers, this is a substantial victory as Boeing has instituted DC plans in all but two of its facilities in North America in recent years, according to CAW national president assistant Jerry Dias.