Evidence of meeting #31 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was air.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Chuck Atkinson  President and Directing General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Mississauga, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada
  • Jean Poirier  General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Montréal, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada
  • Gilles Brosseau  Québec Coordinator, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada
  • Louis Erlichman  Canadian Research Director, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada
  • Tony Didoshak  General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Winnipeg, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada
  • Christopher Hiscock  President, Local Lodge 764, Richmond, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

9:40 a.m.

NDP

Isabelle Morin Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Yes. That is it. Surprise. Surprise.

9:40 a.m.

General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Montréal, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Jean Poirier

Yes. He told me to leave my door open, so the door is open. I hope that your door is open to bring these workers back to work in the hangars, whether it be with the help of Lufthansa Technik, MTU or any of the other companies whose names have been thrown around but who, to date, have not shown any real interest.

Something has to happen. There is an urgent need. You are not the ones who are out in the street; I am, along with the workers. If you like, you can come with me. We can go and meet them. It may stir your emotions, if you have any.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Thank you.

Mr. Watson.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses for appearing.

We appreciate the difficulty that families are facing, the workers you represent, and the challenges that still lie ahead with regard to securing the best outcome for workers.

I was a CAW Local 444 worker at Chrysler for a little over six years. I remember when the Pillette Road truck assembly plant closed. I was a junior employee with no seniority trying to raise a family, and I can appreciate that those are difficult moments.

Moving to the testimony here today and your written statement, maybe this is just a peculiar thing—I don't know whether it was intentional or not, and you can clarify that for me—but I notice in your statement you blame the government and Air Canada but Aveos is not mentioned anywhere in terms of blame, in terms of how it's operated as a company or anything like that. There is no responsibility attributed to Aveos. Are any of you implying somehow that Aveos is a victim?

Who would like to answer that? I see heads indicating no.

9:40 a.m.

President and Directing General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Mississauga, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Chuck Atkinson

No, we definitely don't think that Aveos is a victim. It may just have been an oversight; I don't know.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Okay, fair enough.

Aveos had choices. They could have diversified their clientele base further to secure their future. In this difficult case where they decided to wind up operations they could have chosen restructuring over bankruptcy, for example. They chose the latter.

On the idea of restructuring, did Aveos inform you, the union, of Air Canada's offer of $15 million toward restructuring the operations? Were you informed of that?

9:40 a.m.

President and Directing General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Mississauga, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Chuck Atkinson

Not until after the shutdown.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Okay, fair enough.

Was Aveos profitable as a company, and if so, in what years were they profitable?

April 3rd, 2012 / 9:40 a.m.

Christopher Hiscock President, Local Lodge 764, Richmond, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

I don't think there were ever profits.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Okay.

Mr. Didoshak, in your testimony, talking about quarterly meetings with Air Canada and Aveos, you mentioned that in the last year there has been a declining amount of work and almost left the impression that somehow one bad year is what made for bankruptcy at Aveos. That's not the case. In fact--

9:40 a.m.

General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Winnipeg, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Tony Didoshak

That's not what I was saying at all.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

I didn't say you were. It left the impression, is what I said. I just wanted to clarify that in fact they were having a bad run all the way along.

9:40 a.m.

General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Winnipeg, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Tony Didoshak

Aveos, from what we've seen, was a money-spending business, not a money-generating business.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Did Aveos approach you and the union with respect to renegotiating labour contracts, opening them up, lowering labour costs?

9:45 a.m.

General Chairman, District Lodge 140, Winnipeg, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Canada

Tony Didoshak

We were in the middle of bargaining when this occurred.