Restarted Ajax Parts Plant Brings Union Members Back to Work

April 28, 2010, 10:16 AM EST

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After almost a year of being shut down, workers at the former BBI auto parts plant in Ajax, Ontario will be gradually returning to work.

Under new owners and a new management team, Acoustex International has taken over the parts facility and is scheduled to begin production of parts for General Motors in June of this year and potentially other major auto assemblers in the coming months.

In the process the company expects to potentially recall 120 former BBI workers and members of CAW Local 1090.

The union and company negotiated a new collective agreement, based on the previous agreement with now-bankrupt BBI in December 2009, that recognizes the current seniority and service dates for laid-off workers and maintains the contract wage rates.

"This agreement recognizes the hard work of our members and at the same time justifies the importance of well-paying, union jobs in our community," said CAW Local 1090 President Steve Batchelor. "Low-balling wages and exerting influence over lower-cost, non-union suppliers does more damage to business in the long-run, and it seems some employers are starting to get their heads around that."

The union also negotiated an order-of-hiring agreement that requires Acoustex to hire former BBI employees with recall rights first, followed by BBI employees whose recall rights have expired. The agreement also provides for preferential hiring of laid-off CAW Local 1090 members.

In June 2009, CAW members at BBI staged a two-week blockade of the parts facility after the company abruptly announced its closure, notifying workers that outstanding monies owed (including severance pay) would not be paid. The blockade resulted in workers receiving almost three-quarters of the severance money being paid.

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