October 30, 2019
TORONTO—Following months of difficult negotiations, Unifor finally secured Closure Agreements with Inteva Products, Lear Corporation Whitby, Auto Warehousing Canada (AWC), and Robinson Solutions.
“Unifor has repeatedly insisted that auto parts and service provider workers made significant contributions to the success of their employers and to General Motors. They deserved more than legislative minimum severance, and Unifor was successful in negotiating enhanced packages for our members,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We allocated resources, developed a coordinated bargaining plan, and we had the strong commitment of our leadership and membership. That is why we were successful in getting fair Agreements for our members.”
The Agreements were the last of 11 negotiated by Unifor at companies that will be significantly impacted by the discontinuation of vehicle assembly at GM Oshawa. The 11 Agreements cover more than 1,200 Unifor represented workers in the independent auto parts sector (IPS).
In November 2018, General Motors announced that Oshawa Assembly Plant would not allocate vehicle assembly past December 2019. Unifor warned the public and all levels of government that the closure of the General Motors assembly line in Oshawa would have substantial consequences for IPS workers in feeder plants and related service provider companies across the region.
Following the union’s negotiations with GM for enhanced severance packages for Oshawa workers, the union engaged in bargaining for more than six months to secure fair closure and restructuring Agreements for its IPS members. Throughout the negotiations, Unifor maintained a firm position that legislated minimum was unacceptable.
“In the end, we successfully negotiated double the Employment Standards Act (ESA) minimum severance from the IPS employers,” said Colin James, Unifor Local 222 President. “Without the extraordinary dedication and resiliency of IPS workers, reaching these deals would not have been possible. But to be clear, enhanced severance doesn’t replace a good paying job. And knowing this, we will never give up on our efforts to advocate for bringing vehicle assembly back to Oshawa.”
With the continued threat of jobs in Ontario moving south and overseas, Unifor continues to press political leaders at all levels of government for a much-needed National Automotive Strategy that protects workers in the automotive and parts supplier industries.