The next government will have to act for the survival of our Aerospace Industry

The next government will have to act for the survival of our Aerospace Industry

For Immediate Release

(Montreal, August 21th, 2018) – With Election 2018 just around the corner, the Machinists Union wishes to send a clear message to the political parties. During the next campaign, the future of our Aerospace Industry will have to be addressed. The aviation community is currently experiencing its third golden age since the jet era and we’re in a great position to ensure Quebec society, as a whole, benefits from it.

“It’s about time political parties stop scoring political points by attacking the Aerospace Industry and that they put forward what they intend to do to address the issues if they come to power. Our Aerospace Industry is connected with our economic health, with the quality of our educational system, with our working conditions, with our innovation capacity, with our creative genius, etc. It affects so many things under the responsibility of a government that it would be irresponsible for a political party not have a strategy to show to us for that sector if it aspires to govern Quebec”, says the International Machinists Association’s (IAM) Quebec coordinator, David Chartrand.

Building on a century of evolution, the Quebec Aerospace ecosystem is recognized worldwide for the quality of its workers, schools, research centres and network of companies. From vocational training to higher education, we have the institutions in place to train the next generation, as well as to remain a global leader in the industry if we have the political will to do so.

For decades, the Aerospace Industry is one of our biggest economic pillars. With sales totalizing 14.4 billion in 2016, this industry ranked first in exports as 80% of its production was sold out of the country. This industry provides a livelihood for over 59,000 workers in Quebec. It shines a spotlight on Quebec on the international arena and brings new money in the economy and the coffers of the province. While providing good jobs in our home province, the whole range of activities related to Aerospace contribute to funding our social programs, our utilities and our infrastructure network.

As Quebec workers, we are those who drive the success of this industry. No private company owns the skills we developed with sweat and tears, nor our pride to work in Aerospace. From the float plane Le Vedette in 1923 to the C-Series today, the addition of Quebeckers’ brain power and hard work succeeded in flying outstanding aircrafts. Our capacity to constantly push the limits of this industry is the result of our courage, resourcefulness, perseverance, as well as creative genius.

Despite this, the sustainability of the Aerospace Industry could be compromised in Quebec if the next government doesn’t make the commitment to protect, develop and value it for the benefit of society as a whole.

Too often focused on the actions of larger companies or confined in a partisan logic and political calculations, debates on Aerospace over the past few years made us lose sight of the potential this industry has to offer for Quebec. Beyond criticism, politicians must demonstrate more vision by putting proposals on the table. We must speak with a single voice and work together to ensure Quebec remains a global leader in Aerospace and that this status benefits all Quebeckers.

Although the Liberal government developed a strategy for the Aerospace sector during its last mandate that contained interesting measures, case-by-case and day-to-day management still represents too big a share of our decisions. This practice fosters the implementation of short term solutions whose impacts are under-evaluated.

It is also important to note that the scope of some recommendations goes beyond the mere frame of Aerospace and seeks the improvement of the living standards of all Quebec workers. “With our recommendations, we hope to accomplish more than merely ensuring the survival of the Aerospace Industry and defending those who worked in it. We want to improve the living standards of every single worker in Quebec and remind the political parties that we must consider the interests of society as a whole, and not only those of large companies if we want to accomplish great things for our citizens”, reminds the IAM Canadian General Vice-President, Stan Pickthall.

It is imperative that we act now and smartly for the economic future of Quebec. Valued and established at the heart of a real industrial policy, the Aerospace Industry has all the assets to contribute to the building of a modern economy, based on our knowledge and on a smart use of our resources. From our searchers in universities to our workers in plants, we must consider and involve all our vital forces to shape the Aerospace Industry of tomorrow. Together, we must think of a strategy able to strengthen our national economy in a sustainable fashion through quality jobs creation, as well as a fair redistribution of wealth. A policy which will boost the Innovation and Research sector and allow the people of Quebec to face the 4th industrial revolution with their head held high.

The IAM believes that a political party which aspires to take up the destiny of the province must understand the importance of establishing a dialogue with all of its social actors and of taking decisions based on the interest of all. We invite all the candidates for election to view our document, to comment it and to contact us to talk about it.

For those who would like to view it, it’s also possible to download the document by clicking on the following link:

The IAM is the largest union in the world representing the Aerospace Industry, with over 184,000 members spread over 1,000 collective agreements representing tens of thousands of Aerospace workers