GM Chair Report September 2017

GM UNIT Chair Report,

September 7th 2017

Around the Plant 

To date, the Company has also informed the Union there are NO plans to extend the temporary layoff to any production departments in our facility. All production members will return September 18, 2017.


The Company has informed the Union that the HFV6 is scheduled to be producing 1300 engines daily up from 900 by October 9, 2017.  This will increase manpower in the machining areas and add a partial 3rd shift in assembly.

GF6 Transmission

The Company informed the union there is a slight increase in demand for our GEN 3 transmission. This will solidify the volume on 2 shifts with some overtime in assembly.

GEN 5   V8

The Company has informed the union GEN 5 is steady and the transition to loop “0” is nearly complete. There will be volume increases in the near future with the Corvette coming on line and strong demand from Arlington assembly. This will include some overtime before the end of the year.


The Skilled Trades will resume cross-training now that the primetime vacation period is over. Each Business Team has a designated trainer to facilitate the next phase of training in their respective areas as we move forward with the commitment to combine the four mechanical classifications into one.

Pension issues

The Union has requested a meeting with the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) on the issues arising from the most recent credited service review and letter to plan beneficiaries.  In that meeting, we intend to outline our concerns around the merits of the approach GM has taken in terms of this credited service review.  We will take issue with the statement that GM has made in their letters to plan beneficiaries that the plan text does not permit service accrual for certain specified periods.

Note: GM Canada contributed $512.3 million from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017 to the pension fund.  The latest valuation is from September, 2016. The funded ratio on a going concern basis is 92.7% (up from 89.6% in Sept. 2015) The $512. 3 million is not included in these numbers.

As reported by the company today, the latest funded ratio on a solvency basis is 81.6% (up from 79.8% in Sept. 2016).

 NAFTA Negotiations

Unifor is making its voice heard as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement gets underway.  Unifor National President Jerry Dias will be there as a member of the stakeholders group offering advice to the Canadian negotiators.  This renegotiation began after US President Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 saying that NAFTA has been unfair for American workers, particularly in manufacturing. This gives us a once in a generation opportunity to fix fundamental flaws with NAFTA. Unions have warned since the deal between Canada, the United States and Mexico came into effect in 1994 that it would hurt working people in all three countries. In the decades since, we have been proven right.  Unifor and the UAW have issued a joint statement on NAFTA detailing the harm it has done to the auto industry in Canada and the U.S.

To better understand the impact of NAFTA on the Auto industry in Canada:

Auto investment has poured into Mexico largely in search of low wages and minimal regulation. In the last five years, nine of the 11 new auto factories announced in North America went to Mexico. Mexican autoworkers are only paid about $6 per hour with parts workers earning half that. Mexico now has nearly 900,000 auto manufacturing jobs or 45 per cent of the North American total.  Canada has just 125,000 jobs, or 6 per cent. Canada’s automotive trade deficit with Mexico has tripled since 2008 to reach $12 billion. For every $1 of auto imports from Mexico, Canada sends only 14¢ the other way. The deficit with Mexico is now more than double the deficit with Japan.  In 1999, Canada was the world’s fourth-largest auto producer with an overall auto trade surplus of $14 billion. Canada is now 10th, with a deficit of $18 billion.

Assignment Change for our National Representative

Dino Chiodo has been appointed the new Unifor Director for Auto. Dino will work with Whitey MacDonald for the remainder of the year and assume all responsibilities as the Director of Auto effective December 31, 2017. He will be servicing all the General Motors units. The Shop Committee would like to thank Whitey for all his hard work and support for our Local during his time as our National Representative. We would also like to wish him all the best in his upcoming retirement.

Leadership change at GM North America

Gerald Johnson, Vice President of North American Manufacturing and Labour Relations has replaced Cathy Clegg in this role. The Local Union has already reached out to Gerald Johnson. We had decent dialog on the excellent reputation you the membership have established and the challenges we face in our facility.  We also asked for a meeting on new products moving forward to solidify production in this plant for current and future products. Mr. Johnson agreed to meet in the near future.

New Reps

The Local Leadership is pleased to announce:

  • Doris Maxwell will be assuming the role as Woman’s Advocate/ Employment Equity rep.
  • Lisa Hansen will be assuming the role of Alternate Benefits representative.

We ask the membership for their full support as they transition into their new roles.

Issued by,

Tim McKinnon, GM Unit Chairperson
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee
Brian Chemnitz, Paul Dortono, Doug Wark, John Rakich, Trevor Longpre
UNIFOR Local 199