WINDSOR –Unifor members at Nemak of Canada Corporation gathered today to protest the decision by their employer to close their plant and abandon them in an attempt to move their jobs to Monterey, Mexico.
“Nemak cannot get away with betraying its workers or Canadians simply because they are motivated by corporate greed,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, in a news conference streamed live on Unifor Canada’s Facebook page. “They can’t take millions in government handouts one day and then desert their loyal workforce and the community of Windsor the next.”
Since 2015, Nemak received more than $5 million dollars from several government sources including a $1.5 million grant from the province of Ontario, $1.3 million in tax breaks from the city of Windsor, and $3 million in federal funds.
“This plant has made nothing but profits and closing it is an avoidable, short-sighted decision that will take a devastating toll on 180 workers, their families, and the community,” said Dias.
In July, the company announced plans to move production of the I-6 diesel aluminum engine block and the Corvette engine block and bedplate to its facilities in Monterey, Mexico, which violates an agreement Nemak signed with workers in 2016.
“Nemak signed an agreement with us to keep this plant open until at least 2022,” said John D’Agnolo, Unifor Local 200 President. “We expect nothing less than for them to keep their word.”
Nemak agreed in writing, to keep the plant open until 2022, after workers agreed to a 4-year wage freeze.
“Workers decided this morning that it was time to send a message to their employer that they expect the company to live up to the agreement,” said D’Agnolo.
Unifor leadership met with Nemak CEO Armando Tamez Martinez last week in Monterey, Mexico but talks were unproductive.
Today work has been disrupted at the Windsor plant, which is the sole source for the engine blocks and bedplates.
The plant originally opened in 1996 under the Ford Motor Company, and employed more than 600 workers before Nemak took over operations in 2010. Since then, union members agreed to wage reductions to keep the plant operating.
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.