Judges quash Nemak plant closure decision

October 7, 2020

TORONTO—A panel of judges of the Ontario Divisional Court has set aside a November 2019 arbitrator’s decision that allowed the closure of Nemak’s Windsor plant. The arbitrator cleared the way for the transfer of specialized General Motors work to Mexico causing the loss of approximately 200 jobs.

“Today is a great day for our members at Nemak who spent months waiting patiently for the court to rule on the future of their jobs at the Windsor Aluminum Plant,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This is precisely the outcome our union and our members were fighting for and the ruling could not be any more clear—when you have a collective agreement with workers you have to live up to its terms.”

In late November 2019, arbitrator Norm Jesin ruled against Unifor’s grievance and awarded that Nemak’s plant closure could proceed despite strong job security language in the collective agreement. Nemak and Unifor agreed in 2015 that new work for General Motors would be placed in the Windsor plant and that Windsor would be the “sole source” for that work.

The union immediately launched a judicial review of the arbitrator’s decision which was heard before the Divisional Court in Toronto in February 2020.

In a decision issued on October 6, 2020, the Divisional Court quashed the arbitrator’s decision. In strongly worded reasons, Justice D.L. Corbett accepted Unifor’s argument that it had a contractual commitment that the work must be done in Windsor if it is to be done by Nemak anywhere. The Court found that the arbitrator misused evidence about the 2015 negotiation to get a different and unreasonable result.

“This decision affirms that Nemak is not above the terms of the collective agreement,” said John D’Agnolo, Unifor Local 200 President. “Our members showed incredible resilience, courage, and tenacity throughout this dispute and we are now one step closer to a resolution.”

Yesterday’s ruling sends the union’s grievance back to the arbitrator for a new decision in accordance with the court’s reasons. The full decision can be viewed here.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Unifor members ratify historic agreement with Ford Motor Company

TORONTO—Unifor members working at Ford Motor Company voted 81% in favour of new three year collective agreements that include $1.95 billion in investments to bring battery electric vehicle (BEV) production to Oakville and a new engine derivative to Windsor, along with other significant gains.

“This is the single biggest investment in the Canadian auto industry in years providing long-term job security for Unifor members,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The vote result not only demonstrates our members’ overwhelming support for their bargaining committees and their new collective agreement, but also shows Unifor members have a clear vision of a strong and prosperous Canadian auto sector.”

Highlights of the deal include $1.8 billion to retool and build new battery electric vehicles in Oakville, including a crossover utility vehicle (CUV), and $148 million for Windsor powertrain facilities. Ford has committed to source new 6.X L engines to the Windsor Engine Plant and sole source 5.0L engine assembly and current component machining to the Essex Engine plant, along with any derivatives.

“This agreement is perfect timing and positions our members at the forefront of the electric vehicle transformation, as the Oakville plant will be a key BEV supplier to the North American and European Union markets,” said Dias.

The union also negotiated a five per cent wage increase over the life of the agreement, along with a four per cent lump sum, a productivity and quality bonus of $7,250, inflation protection bonuses and major changes to the New Hire Program, including an 8-year wage grid, and re-instatement of afternoon and midnight shift premiums.

A 20 per cent wage differential has also been re-instated for skilled trades workers and many improvements to benefits have been negotiated along with paid domestic violence leave and a racial justice advocate.

“We went into bargaining with two major priorities, to secure new product allocation and make progress on wages and working conditions for our members, and I think it’s safe to say we hit a home run on both fronts,” said John D’Agnolo, Chair of the Master Bargaining Committee.  “We want to thank the bargaining team, our local leadership, and the members who showed unwavering solidarity through some very intense weeks of bargaining.”

Talks with Fiat Chrysler begin later this week. A digital media kit can be found on this website.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Government Of Canada

Please visit the Government of Canada website for Covid-19 information and FAQ on what to do to limit the spread and protection for you and your family

Visit Government of Canada website…click here

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Want to join the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19?

Statement on the International Day of Older Persons

September 30, 2020

On October 1st we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.

First observed in 1991, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated this special day to draw attention to the important contribution of seniors and to changing demographics: the greying of the population, or the “age of aging.”

This year marks the 30th year of the International Day of Older Persons, and recognizing the many challenges faced by older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. This coincides with 2020 being recognized as “The Year of the Nurse,” the pandemic has shown the critical role that health care professionals play in our society. It has also further brought to light the vulnerabilities of older persons and the blatant abuses that occur when the health and care of our elders are put in the hands of for-profit organizations.

The 2020 theme aims to:

  • Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing.
  • Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live.
  • Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession
  • Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to “Leave no one behind”.
  • Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

Older Persons & Covid-19

Since the onset of the pandemic, the United Nations has given priority to the needs of older persons in its collective preparedness and response action at global, regional and country level.

“Older persons are a valuable aspect of our society and their contributions are needed to strengthen communities and to have a functioning society,” says Les MacDonald Chair Unifor Retired Workers Council and Unifor National Executive Board member. “It is important to recognize that development will only be achieved if it is inclusive of all ages.”  Governments at all levels must ensure that older persons receive the care, the opportunities and support to experience Healthy Ageing.

Unifor retirees continue to fight for improved standards of living, whether it be through employer provided pensions, government pensions, fighting for better and more inclusive healthcare, dental care and a national pharma care program.

Between 2015 and 2030, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase from 901 million to 1.4 billion, the number of people aged 60 and older will exceed that of young people aged 15 -24.

To achieve equality attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is required.

Empowering older persons by active participation in social, economic and political live is one way to ensure their inclusiveness and to reduce inequalities.

Seniors and retired workers will hold virtual events across the country in recognition of International Day of Older Persons, if you are not hosting an event, look for one in a community near you and help recognize the contributions of Older Persons.