Home Truck News Union sets sights on Lion Electric workers - Truck News

Union sets sights on Lion Electric workers – Truck News

A request was filed Tuesday, April 9, with the Administrative Labor Tribunal of Quebec, with the aim of unionizing workers at the electric truck and bus manufacturer Lion Electric.

The approach is the result of a campaign by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).

“We are targeting a group of 200 to 250 workers at the Saint-Jérôme factory,” Éric Gagné, recruitment manager for district 11 of the IAMAW, said in an interview with Transport Routier .

Lion worker on an assembly line
(Photo: Electric Lion)

The day after this filing, Lion Electric management was officially notified of the filing of the petition. It must provide a list of employees to the Labor Court within the next eight days.

It is this detailed list that will allow the union to determine whether it has obtained a majority of members.

“If the Court finds that we have 50% +1 of the membership cards, we will be accredited immediately,” Gagne said.

If the percentage is between 35% and 50%, the Tribunal will have a confidential vote carried out internally, he added.

The IAMAW also has the American Lion factory in Joliet, Ill., in its sights.

“We are also on a campaign there, because we are an international union. The goal is to protect jobs for both Joliet workers and Saint-Jérôme workers,” said the union spokesperson.

“It’s always better to have work relations, and who keeps which job, when it’s the same union in both places.”

Discussions have also begun to unionize employees of the battery factory and the Mirabel Innovation Center, as well as those of the Terrebonne Experience Center.

Preserving jobs and providing employees with a pension fund are among the union’s priorities, but also the review of salaries which, according to Gagne, “are not what they should be.”

He recalls that Lion announced the suspension of 150 positions at the end of November 2023 as well as the temporary layoff of around 100 other workers a little over a month ago.

“These people are not sure about returning to work. There is a lot of uncertainty about this and that is why people want to protect themselves and be able to have visibility on what is coming,” said Gagné.

However, he does not say he is concerned about the survival of the company, whose shares are in decline following disappointing financial results.

“What I hear is that there are good things coming at Lion. Everything seems dark at the moment but I hear that there are contracts being negotiated. We wouldn’t invest so much in a [unionization] campaign if we didn’t believe in the survival of this company,” he says.

The fact that public money, provincial and federal, has been invested in Lion does not make the IAMAW representative fear that the negotiation process will be more complicated by the multiplication of stakeholders around the table.

“Personally, it reassures me,” he said, adding that the FTQ Solidarity Fund has also invested in the company, as has the CSN Fondaction .

According to the latest available figures, Lion has more than 1,850 zero-emission vehicles on the road, having collectively traveled more than 36 million kilometers.

Lion Electric management said it could not comment on the situation.


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