Alstom union rep makes case

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — An opportunity to meet with more than 108 federal government representatives this week was an open door for Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075 representing Alstom employees, who advocated in-person for Alstom’s bid for a major Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) contract.

Due to his new city council duties, Pasqualiuno returned home a little earlier than he’d have liked to — but not before imploring the importance of Alstom’s bid on the TTC’s 480-car refurbishment project that has the potential to escalate to 670 cars.

“Everybody I talked to was really positive — but did I get a cheque signed? No, and that’s what I need,” said Pasqualino. “It would be a complete success and it would be wonderful for the community to see a 670-car contract but we have to get over some of the hurdles.”

He said the first of the hurdles is for Alstom to obtain the contract through successful bidding. The second contingent involves Alstom delegating a large portion of that work to the Thunder Bay operation.

If Thunder Bay’s Alstom plant is successful in obtaining this contract, the new work would begin in 2027.

“The work we have at the plant right now runs out in 2025. So we still have that gap that we have to rebuild,” he said.

Currently, there are 150 workers refurbishing 94 bi-level cars for the TTC, and work is about to begin on 60 light rail vehicle (LRV) cars for Metrolinx at the plant.

Pasqualino says there are other (contracts) that Alstom is looking at which include the possible extension of the existing “refurb contract” to do more cars.

“I know that they were also looking at other things, but I don’t know exactly what they are. We might get something signed or we might not,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pasqualino continues to be optimistic about more contracts coming by way of the Thunder Bay Alstom plant but there is a lot of work to be done in terms of bidding for them.

“Anytime you can get to talk to somebody about the issues in your plant, that’s always successful,” he said. “I always say it’s like fishing. If you don’t go fishing, then you don’t get any bites. We need to keep the lines out because even though we didn’t get a bite, we are also talking to more and more people to make them aware of the plan, and eventually we will be more successful.”

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal