Foundry workers in Winnipeg strike to save pensions, seniority

Workers at train wheel manufacturer Griffin Wheel went on strike March 27, after turning down a contract offer that erodes pensions and seniority rights, and forces them to work overtime.

The 181 foundry workers, members of Unifor Local 144, pour an average of 850 train wheels each day. “Our members got this employer through the pandemic working long gruelling days and they deserve a good pension and respect for their hard work,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

Rather than that, though, Griffin Wheel wants to move them from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution scheme, or even eliminate the pension entirely. The company also wants to eliminate seniority rights and continue its practice of forcing workers to work three overtime shifts per week.

“There were some small moves at the table, but the company is holding on to the major issues that most affect our members,” said Local 144 President Liz Sousa.

“A lot of our members have been working hard, six days a week, for the last two years to help the company out. The way the company is negotiating now is a slap in the face and huge disrespect to their loyal workforce.”

[Photo: Unifor]

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