President’s Message (NAFTA)

Pres Messsage

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

I write today to provide an important update on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the work of our union.

Unifor is actively participating in the process in the role of advisor to the Canadian NAFTA negotiation team. During the first two rounds of talks in Washington, D.C. and Mexico City I have remained in constant communication with government negotiators on the ground. I was pleased that Renaud Gagne, the Quebec Director was able to join with me for talks in Mexico to help represent Unifor.

During multiple face-to-face meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, and Steve Verheul, Canada’s lead NAFTA negotiator I have provided Unifor’s prospective on trade and advocated strongly for the inclusion of labour rights

On behalf of Unifor, I have continually stressed that no deal is better than a bad deal and the government should be prepared to walk away if required.

While talks are still in the early stages and it is far too early to predict the ultimate outcome, the fact that our voice is present and being heard is a victory for labour. Our government knows that we will not stand quietly by should it decide to sign a deal that hurts workers.

If NAFTA is going to be renegotiated it is important that any new trade deal address the gross inequalities that have resulted for Mexican workers. As a socially progressive union, our union has a responsibility to raise standards for all workers. The stark reality is that it is simply impossible to have fair trade, or compete on an even playing field, with a country that pays its workers poverty wages.

Conditions in Mexico must change to lift up workers and ensure that fair trade works for all of us. It is the only way to keep good paying manufacturing jobs here in Canada.

Our work as a union will ramp up over the next few weeks as we prepare for the third round of talks in Ottawa and a lobby week that will happen this October. To keep you up to date on this important issue I am sending a few important news clips of media coverage that Unifor received:

CTV NEWS  and a CTV clip on NAFTA and low Mexican wages

Toronto Star

Globe and Mail

National Post

In the coming days more information on planned actions will be circulated.  I hope that I can count on your support as we fight for a truly historic deal for all North American workers.  To learn more please visit our campaign webpage at

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias

National President

Solidarity action: Local 597 lock-out

Bob Orr

The locked out aerospace workers of Local 597 at DJ Composites in Gander, NL need your help – and it only takes a few seconds.

Send a message to this scab employer right now!
This American-based employer locked out 32 of our members last December and is now trying to bust the union with scabs.

This is an incredible show of disrespect for a community that helped build this company, and which famously welcomed US travelers on 9-11 into their homes.

We are asking that you check out the below link, watch the video and follow the links to send letters to both the NL Minister of Labour Al Hawkins and the CEO of DJ Composites Rezaul Chowdhury.

Letters are written, you merely need to sign and hit send from this page:

With solidarity we can win this. Make your voice heard. To learn more about the issue read this pamphlet or find out how to make a donation at

In solidarity,

Robert J. Orr

National Secretary-Treasurer

Bell Performance Management Systems

September 5, 2017

Reno Vaillancourt
Vice President, Human Resources & Labour Relations
Bell Canada
1 carref. Alex.-G.-Bell, Aile A-2
Verdun QC H3E 3B3
We are writing to you today to raise a very important issue that has become increasingly tense over the course of the last number of months with our members who work for the various Bell companies.
As we know you are aware, grievances regarding the various performance management systems, their current utilization and the increased monitoring by the various Bell companies are beginning to pile up and if things continue it will only get worse. Clearly that is reason for all parties to be concerned.
Our members, Local Union Presidents and our National Representatives are all of the opinion that this is a major issue which Unifor must take on and we could not agree more. The programs take on multiple forms and are called different things, but in the end the fact remains, we must come together to discuss the utilization of performance management systems, their purpose, the parameters in which members are evaluated and the course of corrective action that is most appropriate in the circumstance. One thing is for sure, Unifor will not agree to a one size fits all approach to performance management that fails to properly evaluate things that are out of the control of workers. We do recognize that Bell has the right to manage its employees and to implement measures to increase customer service, but there is ample case law that demonstrates the fairness in which these types of programs must have built in to them.


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