GM Unit Chairperson’s Report

The Future of General Motors in St Catharines

There has been a great deal of speculation and fear mongering in the press lately about General Motors operations in Canada.

Concerns have arisen about the future of General Motors Canada in part because a commitment GM made to produce 16 per cent of its North American-made vehicles in Canada expires next year. That commitment was made in return for a $10.8-billion contribution by the Federal and Ontario governments to the bailout of GM when it went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.

We have heard everything from our new GM president Stephen Carlisle saying our plants are “not competitive” then followed by Mary Barra’s “The drop in the Canadian dollar won’t be the saving grace for manufacturing operations of General Motors Canada” to years of preaching we were “the high cost producer” culminating with a multi-billion dollar investment in Mexico. These are but a few examples of the challenges we face in the coming months.

What is your Union doing about it?

We are working with the National Union, We have had a great deal of dialog and will continue to meet with the federal and Ontario cabinet ministers who oversee the auto industry in Canada. They in turn have met with General Motors Co. chief executive officer Mary Barra in Detroit to press the case for new investment by the auto maker at its Canadian operations.

“High-paying auto assembly jobs, which also create parts supply and other spinoff jobs, have been a key driver of Ontario’s economic engine.” We need to find a way to regain public support for our cause! Now is the time to stand with your Union!

As your Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of the Master Committee, I have had the opportunity to attend numerous meetings throughout Canada and the USA. In addition I have had dialog with high level GM Management personnel to make sure that they continue to see Canada as an attractive place to do business.

We hope that they will recognize that there is some expectation of mutual benefit between the Company and the Union as both Production and Trades have made tremendous sacrifices in the rescue of GM and we were there for them in tough times. We expect them to be there for their Canadian Auto workers now.

In every meeting we have NEVER missed the opportunity to point out they have a work force that is second to none, I can say with all honesty that it is the hard working men and women in St Catharines that gives this Committee and myself the ability to fight for this facility and our local. Remember Canadian plants always had a “value-added” boost, including “high quality, high-skilled Labour.”

I would also like to point out that Canada has many advantages to offer GM for high-quality, competitive, profitable production. The productivity and quality awards won at Canada’s plants are unmatched anywhere in GM’s global operations. The decline in the Canadian dollar means our costs are now fully competitive with any industrialized country.

New collective agreement provisions (like a new-hire wage grow-in system negotiated in 2012) will save GM hundreds of millions of dollars. The company is highly profitable in Canada, on both the sales and the manufacturing arms of their business.

In Canada we have the lowest effective corporate tax rates, we are fast becoming a hub of innovation in information technology which is so important for vehicle manufacturing and sales in this competitive market.

We have many meetings scheduled in the coming months and I will report back to the membership on any future developments.


As most of you are aware there are a number of key people coming to our facility over the next number of weeks. This will be a great opportunity for “You” to demonstrate that “We” are what we say we are and that is nothing short of “The Best!”

Bill Shaw, Manufacturing Manager, Vehicle Manufacturing
Steve Carlisle, President and Managing Director, GM of Canada
Cathy Clegg, Vice President – North American Manufacturing
Cathy Clegg will be bringing nearly 100 people with her including Plant Managers and Engineers from across North America including Mexico to do a workshop in our facility.

Ron Harbour,is the former owner and President of “Harbour Consulting” prior to its acquisition by Oliver Wyman in 2007. He co-authored and developed “The Harbour Report” and has broad experience in the assessment, development and implementation of quality, cost and productivity improvements at factories worldwide. Beyond manufacturing improvement, Mr. Harbour has led projects in new vehicle development, manufacturing strategy and design for manufacturability.

Important New Information

E.I. Consent Form

Beginning immediately a new E.I. legislation has commenced in regards to information sharing with third parties. In order to have an E.I. /Sub Representative act on your behalf to inquire or amend information to an E.I. claim members “must sign a consent form” allowing them to do so. Consent forms will be provided for you in the Sub office.

Vacation Pay Advance

Please note the direct deposit vacation advance will be applied to the week or weeks you are serving vacation. For example, your 40 hour vacation allocation will be deposited on the Thursday following the commencement of the requested week or weeks of vacation.

The criteria for vacation advance is, the vacation period must be a minimum of one week. You must have at least 1 year seniority as of June 30th of the previous year. The form must be completed and mailed to payroll by your Group Leader 10 days prior to the date the direct deposit is required, and must be signed by your superintendent.


Last year’s transfers (62s) become null and void January 26, 2015. The Company will accept new transfers as of January 19, 2015 and they will become valid February 2, 2015.


Please note: Once you elect to retire the decision is final and cannot be changed after the paperwork is signed and returned.

Issued by, Tim McKinnon, GM Unit Chairperson
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee, Ron Allen, Brian Chemnitz, Paul Dortono, Doug Wark. UNIFOR Local 199