What’s the connection you ask? Well, the threat of machinists jobs at the carrier heading South is playing a role in decision by IAMAW today to endorse contract extensions and pension funding freezes necessary for Air Canada to regain financial strength and avoid heading into its second formal restructuring this decade.
Air Canada needs approval of the agreements from all five labour unions to achive the pension funding freeze and to secure $600 million in financing. The IAMAW is the lone holdout after narrowly rejecting the deal earlier this month, and the union is holding a re-vote on the proposed deals today.
One sticking point is 1,400 mechanics based in Montreal doing work for MRO Aveos, which was previously Air Canada Technical Services (ACTS). Air Canada parent ACE Holdings sold a 70% stake in ACTS in 2007.
I apologize for the necessary digression there. But there’s more — ACTS in 2007 expanded its portfolio through the purchase of the Aeroman MRO in El Salavador.
Hence the El Salavador connection. Evidently some IAMAW members are concerned the 1,400 jobs in Montreal will transition to El Salvador after the proposed contract extensions expire. Those technicians currently perform widebody work — but no matter — union members argue that even though Aeroman currently only supports work on narrobody aircraft, concern is mounting Aveos could build a widebody facility in El Salvador.
Keep an eye out for the results of the IAMAW vote tomorrow.