Canada’s auto industry is an important contributor to the success of our national economy. The transition to zero emission vehicles presents an opportunity to not only sustain our existing industrial footprint but to grow good, union jobs in a net zero economy. Governments and all stakeholders must continue to view the expansion of this domestic industry and its value chain a strategic priority for Canada.
The public dispute between the Government of Canada and the Stellantis/LG Energy Solution joint venture battery facility, NextStar, in Windsor, Ontario is cause for concern. This facility, heralded as Canada’s first “gigafactory”, is a cornerstone for economic activity among material suppliers and assembly facilities. NextStar will serve as a lynchpin for battery supply to Stellantis’ vehicle assembly plants in Brampton and Windsor, supporting the transition of thousands of Unifor members’ jobs in the coming years.
Considering the extraordinary public incentives provided to battery suppliers by the United States Government after the NextStar facility was first announced in May 2022, it is understandable that Canadian government and company officials have undertaken to review the initially agreed-to public financial supports. Ensuring a fair and competitive level of public support to this facility is paramount. The strategic importance of this facility to Canada cannot be overstated.
On behalf of Unifor’s Auto Council, representing more than 20,000 workers at Stellantis, General Motors and Ford Motor Company, we call on all parties to conclude these negotiations, without further delay. A quick resolve will put to rest rising concerns among Unifor members at Stellantis facilities in Canada.
Further, it is our firm expectation that the final agreement will deliver on all of the company’s publicly announced commitments to the battery facility, its research and development work as well as publicly announced future product allocation and investment commitments for Windsor and Brampton assembly plants.
Lana Payne James Stewart
National President Chair of Unifor Stellantis Council
John D’Agnolo Jason Gale
Chair of Unifor Ford Council Chair of Unifor General Motors Council