On the Picket Line

Ontario aerospace workers strike over wages, conditions

By Katy LeRougetel
May 3, 2021

HALEY STATION, Ontario — “Our pay doesn’t even keep up to the cost of living,” Leonard Godin, president of United Steelworkers Local 4820 at Magellan Aerospace, told the Eganville Leader. 

Some 350 workers at Magellan’s casting foundry here have been on strike since March 29 after rejecting the multinational corporation’s final offer, which had no pay raise the first year of the contract, a measly 30 cents per hour the second year and 35 cents per hour the third. 

Strikers on the picket line told this worker-correspondent April 10 that they don’t get any paid sick days and are fighting company plans to introduce forced weekend overtime. 

Many union members remember previous hard-fought battles, including a strike in 1991 when Magellan brought in scabs in school buses. 

I joined fellow Communist League member Joe Young to speak with working people and farmers in the area on their doorsteps April 10-12. “The biggest concern was weekend shifts,” retired factory worker Ambrose Limlawt told the Militant. “I back them 100%. If you can’t have the weekend off with your family, what the hell is left in life?”

We brought solidarity letters signed by workers at two Walmart stores in Montreal for the Steelworkers local. We also brought a signed solidarity card with a photo of workers at the Cargill meatpacking plant near Montreal.

Amelie Beauvolsk, a United Food and Commercial Workers member at the Cargill plant, helped initiate the card. “It was neat to take a photo,” she said. “That way they can see we really support them. It’s good to unite for the cause.” 

Messages of support can be sent to USW Local 4820, c/o USW, 200 Ronson Drive, Suite 300 Etobicoke, ON M9W 5Z9.