Jobs lost as Reebok transfers manufacturing from Quebec to Asia

Union says area once abundant with manufacturing jobs has almost none now

About 70 workers at a Quebec company manufacturing Reebok products will lose their jobs as a result of the sports equipment company moving business to Asia.

Sport Maska, located in the Montérégie region of Quebec, had about 850 employees in the mid-1990s. When production is transferred in the spring of 2012, only 20 employees will manufacture professional sports equipment in the plant.

The plant is profitable for Reebok, but the multinational company is wanting more, according to United Steelworkers (USW) representative Michel Courcy. He says it’s unfair to the employees who have been working at the plant for years.

Sports equipment manufacturing jobs have been moved to Asia from Quebec before. In the spring of 2011, hockey equipment company Sher-Wood transferred production from its Sherbrooke, Que., plant to Asia. About 40 people lost their job at the time. The Bauer-Nike factory in the Laurentians-region of Quebec, had approximately 1,200 workers in the 1990s, but is nearing closure because production has almost completely moved to China.

The USW will try to help find displaced employees new jobs, says Courcy, but the union is hoping Reebok will change its mind about moving production to Asia.

Reebok has not commented on the decision

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