It is with regret and sadness that we announce the death of our colleague Normand Cherry, at the age of 82.
A man of conviction and in solidarity with his fellow Machinists, he left his mark on the history of Local 712, the labour movement, politics and the economy of Quebec.
He joined Canadair as a machinist in 1954 and served as President General Chairperson of IAMAW Local 712 from 1969 to 1989. Mindful of training issues within the Normand industry, he subsequently became the first Vice-President of the Quebec aerospace workforce sector committee in 1978, a position he held until 1989. During this period, he fought several battles for his colleagues at IAMAW and for the safeguarding of the Quebec aerospace industry.
“Few people know this, but without his involvement, vision and sense of negotiation, the face of aerospace in Quebec would probably not be the same. Normand is one of those who helped make aerospace an economic pillar for Quebec and the livelihood of thousands of workers “commented David Chartrand, Quebec coordinator of the IAMAW.
Normand played a key role in the sale of Canadair to Bombardier in 1986 by stepping up efforts to keep the Crown Corporation’s jobs and operations in Quebec. During the same period, he also distinguished himself in the CF-18 maintenance file, actively advocating for the maintenance and repair of fighter jets in the province.
“He was an ally of workers and the labour movement that we are losing today”, said Yvon Paiement, President of Local 712. “The way in which he conducted his files, promoted and protected, through political action, the jobs and working conditions of his brothers and sisters of Local 712, influenced our way of doing unionism.”
Normand also invested himself in the training of his brothers and sisters from 1985 to 1989 by offering courses at IAMAW’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Maryland. From 1983 to 1989 he also represented Canadian workers on the IAMAW Law Committee.
When he left the IAMAW, Normand moved into provincial politics. He was then elected to represent the riding of Sainte-Anne (1988 to 1994) and the riding of Saint-Laurent (1994-1998) under the banner of the Quebec Liberal Party. During this period, he was Minister of Labour and Minister of Cultural Communities (1990-1993) in the office of Robert Bourassa, and Minister of Transport in the office of Daniel Johnson Jr (1994).
“Even after leaving his position at Local 712, he remained loyal to his union family”, Éric Rancourt, QMC President and District 11 Business Representative (IAMAW). “He would visit us occasionally to check in and we knew we could count on him when we needed advice.”
This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Normand Cherry (JUNE 2, 1938 – APRIL 11, 2021) A great defender of Quebec aerospace workers has passed away