Several Canadian news organizations reported last week that Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay, which builds railcars, may lay off up to 550 workers – or about half the plant’s workforce.
Bombardier, headquartered in Montreal, is one of the largest train and plane manufacturers in the world. It recently announced it was opening a new plant in California and the U.S. Administration’s “buy America” restriction is one cause cited for the drop of orders to the Thunder Bay, according to union and governmental officials. On the Bombardier USA website, it notes nearly 7,000 employees across 17 states with four manufacturing sites: Wichita, Kan., Plattsburgh, N.Y., and two sites in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Canadian union and Thunder Bay city officials also cited the lack of orders coming from the Canadian government as a cause for the layoffs.
“The U.S. is not an option at this time, so we’re going to need the jobs from Canada,” Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075, told BNN Bloomberg.
The layoffs were not a total surprise. David Van der Wee, Bombardier’s chief operating officer for the Americas, told CBC News in June that layoffs would be coming, but said the company remained committed to the Thunder Bay operation and was actively working to secure new contracts for it. The exact timeline for the upcoming layoffs was not announced.
“We have been working as hard as we can to position the plant as best as we are able,” Mauro told the CBC. “We will do everything we can do to support that plant … but also to diversify our economy. … Obviously this is a major blow to a community of our size."