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Political Will Is Necessary To Protect Quebec's Aerospace Workers

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I am taking the time to write this text because it is our organization's duty to again raise
awareness among Canadians and their elected representatives on this issue of public interest, which affects many families in the country.

On November 3, the Court of Appeal of Quebec asked Air Canada to return the maintenance of its fleet to Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga so that it may respect the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Air Canada has until January 4 to appeal the decision.

In the event that the carrier does appeal, what I mentioned in my last text on the subject ("We Must Not Allow Air Canada To Invoke Its Own Turpitude") will become more and more feasible.

In the event that it does not, it would be desirable that Air Canada sits down with the federal government and the IAMAW to develop a plan to bring back the maintenance work and jobs that were lost in 2012. It will be necessary therefore that the Canadian political class fulfill their role as representatives of the people and demonstrate political will so that the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Quebec and the ACPPA is respected.

Our organization, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), represents the employees of Air Canada, AJ Walter and Lockheed Martin (whose factories in Montreal are responsible for some of the contracts for the maintenance of Air Canada's fleet), as well as the 2,700 former employees of Aveos. Our union is and has always been a credible representative for this group of workers.

Our will to be involved in every facet of this case has been demonstrated on several occasions -- during the lengthy legal battles needed to ensure and protect the benefits granted to workers; the efforts to bring jobs back to Canadian service centres in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga; as well as in the search for new job opportunities following the closure of Aveos. Throughout this struggle, we have always acted in the interest of workers and citizens.

Three major points will need to be respected so that everything may unfold favourably. First, we look forward to a position from the Liberal Government of Canada where they commit not to modify the ACPPA, particularly the part that requires Air Canada to carry out its heavy maintenance work in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga.

Secondly, we require an assurance that the IAMAW -- as the representatives of the former workers of Aveos and the workers of AJ Walter, Lockheed Martin and Air Canada -- will be part of the discussions and negotiations in the development of a plan to return maintenance work to Canada in the event that Air Canada is obliged to comply with the act.

Thirdly, that measures be taken by the elected federal representatives to prevent Air Canada from signing contracts with firms outside the country for long-term maintenance that should be done in Canada according to the ACPPA.

In conclusion, we ask all legislators in favour of not amending or modifying the ACPPA to contribute to the protection of Quebec's aerospace industry and its workers.

The IAMAW has represented employees of Air Canada (TCA) since 1939. Since the beginning of the privatization process of Air Canada in 1987, the IAMAW has multiplied its efforts in order to protect the jobs and working conditions of these workers.

Today, we are seeking the collaboration of all political actors in order to ensure that justice is fully and wholly rendered for the good of thousands of workers and their families.

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