On the Picket Line

Quebec Steelworkers reject concessions, strike Galvano plant

By Pierre-Luc Filion
and Laura Long
August 19, 2019

SAINT-MATHIEU-DE-BELOEIL, Quebec — Angered by the bosses’ demand for concessions at the Galvano plating plant here, members of United Steelworkers Local 9414 overwhelmingly rejected the company’s final contract offer and went on strike July 9. The 35 unionists employed there set up a picket line the same day.

“We have made concessions since 2004 when the company filed for bankruptcy,” striker Éric Pellerin told the Militant. “But now we need to stand up against these attacks.” The workers want to make up for wage freezes, pension concessions, and insurance coverage lost over the past 15 years.

The bosses also want to impose mandatory 12-hour shifts to run production 24/7. The plant has been operating on three 8-hour shifts Monday to Friday.

Galvano is owned by the Chicago-based aerospace company Heico, which took control of the factory after the previous owners declared bankruptcy. The plant specializes in finishing bolts used in manufacturing tractors and construction machinery.

Beside the picket trailer the workers have erected a posterboard that displays messages of support received from other union locals. So far three USW locals in Quebec have donated funds to back the strikers’ fight.

“I support your fight and will build solidarity with it among my co-workers at Walmart,” Pierre-Luc Filion, Communist League candidate in the federal constituency of Longueuil-St. Hubert, told workers on the picket line July 22.