IAMAW Canada – Pickthall letter to Ministers Morneau and Garneau

Pickthall letter to Ministers Morneau and Garneau

By email:   bill.morneau@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Honourable Ministers Morneau and Garneau,

Re:      Extension of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

I’m writing you on behalf of 36,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) who work in numerous sectors across Canada. As the General Vice President of the largest Union in air transportation, with a significant presence in aerospace, manufacturing, healthcare, the hotel industry, and other industries, I have witnessed the unprecedented impact on our member’s jobs, lives and our Union. The uncertainty and devastation has taken an unimaginable toll, the programs, and initiatives undertaken by the federal government have benefited our members in these challenging times.

The IAMAW has been a strong advocate and proponent of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). CEWS has secured a source of income for many of our members and has maintained a crucial link between them and their employers. Upon CEWS’ availability, we engaged with employers to implement the program, and many of them have.

As you are aware, the economic impact of the pandemic has been incremental, first affecting industries that are export reliant, and also those directly impacted by travel restrictions, like the airline industry. However, the effects will reverberate throughout the economy, spreading to industries closely connected to those initially impacted. At the same time, CEWS expires on June 6th, and some businesses will experience a drop in revenues in the second part of the year, but will not have access to funds that are essential.

One such company is MTU Maintenance Canada, based in Vancouver, B.C, where the IAM represents a number of skilled workers.  Due to the business model that relies on international markets through material procurement, and supply chains, MTU anticipates a substantial drop in revenue starting in June through to August.

The challenge for aerospace companies, particularly those specializing in MRO is that the structure of the program does not match low inputs and long total asset turnover (TAT) that are common in the industry. Consequently, downturns in March will fully manifest in the second part of the year as a drop in revenues.  Simply put, CEWS is better suited for high transaction enterprises, and does not address the unique nature of this sector.

Given how vital CEWS has been, we are strongly urging the federal government to consider two key proposals:

  1. An extension to the CEWS program for an additional 12 weeks. The economic outlook does not indicate signs of a quick recovery, to the contrary, a recovery is expected to be protracted. An extension would afford businesses in other sectors whose production schedules do not align with the structure of CEWS to, at the very minimum, continue operations, and allow workers to maintain an employment relationship with their employer.  During this period, critical infrastructure in many industries must be maintained, and CEWS has proven to be effective in achieving this objective.
  2. Notwithstanding the above proposal, we recommend that businesses who experience the economic impact later in the year have the opportunity to apply for the subsidy after the June 6th deadline. This option would allow businesses that are yet to be impacted an opportunity to bridge a downturn until operations resume again. Each business that applies after the June 6th deadline would qualify for a 12 week period, with CEWS expiring in December of 2020.

Businesses and the Canadian economy depend on assistance that allow businesses to maintain operations and adjust to new realities. CEWS has been a crucial lifeline for many of our members, workers in general, as well as, businesses.

We hope the federal government will take this into consideration and engage unions and business leaders in discussions about getting through this difficult period in a way that benefits workers and employers; CEWS is a testament that this is possible.

We welcome an opportunity to discuss this further with you as we enter into the coming critical months.


Stan Pickthall

General Vice President
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers


cc: Hassan Yussuff, President – Canadian Labour Congress

IAMAW Canada – The Pandemic Experience: From the perspective of IAMAW Sisters

The Pandemic Experience: From the perspective of IAMAW Sisters

The pandemic is putting strain on many things, but not on the solidarity of IAM sisters!

28 IAM sisters and brothers connected on May 5th , a day that also commemorates missing and murdered indigenous women, to discuss the unique issues women face during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has not been the same for everyone; for instance, we know low wage earners are impacted by joblessness at a higher rate than those earning higher wages. Among those earning lower wages are women and without a doubt, those most vulnerable are bearing the heaviest burden.

The purpose of the discussion was to ensure a gender lens is applied to bargaining priorities, and policies once the pandemic ends. “It’s important that the union provides protection specific to the needs of women because we’ve seen the unique issues women have experienced.” Said Heather Kelley, GLR and Women’s and Human Rights Representative.

The teleconference was a resounding success, indicating that not only is there an interest, but a need to address women’s issues within the IAM. Ivana Saula, the Canadian Research Director commented, “the number of participants exceeded expectations, and it’s great to see so many engaged women. It’s an indicator that these conversations are overdue.”

“Workplaces will be different, and the way we work will be different, so, it’s important to address vulnerabilities that have arisen and address them through collective agreements and legislative action.” GVP Stan Pickthall added. GVP Pickthall went on to say that, “we want to make sure workplaces are equipped to provide appropriate support, but that we’re also advocating for legislative support that may be lacking.”

Heather Kelley said that she hopes that this conversation continues and that the IAM builds on an initiative that has engaged IAM sisters. Heather also commented that “the teleconference was not just an opportunity for a discussion, it also allowed sisters to connect for the first time since the Women’s Conference and maintain relationships that were built there.” Even though these are challenging times, it’s encouraging that solidarity is as strong as it’s ever been, and the teleconference yesterday stands as a testament to that.

IAMAW Canada – Expand additional Pandemic Pay to include all airport workers

Expand additional Pandemic Pay to include all airport workers

We have updated our email campaign to include all airport workers.


Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement about compensating essential workers fairly for the risks they take to keep our economy going and to protect our communities was welcomed by many members of the IAMAW.

But, we know, more work remains. Some of our members will not be included in this initiative, yet they have worked through the pandemic risking their health, and well being. Until the work of these members is recognized, we will not stop advocating.

The IAMAW is calling on provincial governments to include ALL AIRPORT WORKERS under the pandemic pay initiative. Airports were at the forefront of the pandemic, and many workers have contracted COVID19; these members deserve not just protection but fair compensation.

Help us make this goal a reality by emailing your provincial/territorial Premier.