Unifor halts production at Milton Northstar plant over pension shortfall

Plant is closing, union claims the company won’t cover a 24% deficit in the workers’ pension funding.

August 10, 2017

MILTON, Ont. — Unifor has taken control of the Northstar Aerospace facility in Milton, Ont. to demand that the company fund a 24% pension deficit.

Picketers have set up a line outside the plant, where Northstar manufactures components and assemblies for the global aerospace industry.

Unifor said company is not bound by legislation to fund the shortfall.

“This action sends a clear message to Northstar that the company cannot short-change workers and the pension of retirees that have made it profitable for so many years,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s president. “There is no financial reason for refusing to fund the plan. The only excuse is corporate greed.”

The plant, owned by capital equity firm Wynnchurch Capital, lost a major contract from Boeing for its AH-64E Apache program. The company announced in January it could not make up for the loss and would be closing the plant. Because of the closure 200 skilled workers will lose their jobs.

Unifor said Northstar is refusing to meet the 24% pension short fall for workers facing job loss.

It said in a statement the short fall will affect future and current retirees, “some of whom are already on a fixed income after having worked at the facility for more than 40 years.”

“We have stopped production at this facility until Northstar holds up its end of a commitment, a commitment to the workers who have made this company flourish,” said Scott McIlmoyle, Unifor Local 112 president.

The plant’s equipment is being moved to Chicago and Windsor.

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