GM Chair Report August 28th 2018

GM CHAIR REPORT, August 28th , 2018

Recent Plant Tours

The Leadership recently had its first meeting with the new President of GM Canada Travis Hester. The visit was a success by every measure. There was great dialog on the membership in our facility and the fantastic job done by all demonstrating the engagement and challenging work of our membership at the floor level. This has and will continue to serve us well as we continue to seek opportunities for new work in our facility and ensure our future in the uncertain times we face today.

NAFTA meetings

Member engagement will be critical in our efforts to sustain our industry in Canada. We will be asking our members across Ontario that work in the auto sector to participate in potential demonstrations to highlight the impact to our members, our communities and our Province. We need to work together to weather this storm and get back to business. There is continuing dialog with both Federal and Provincial Government leaders to take immediate action in protecting Canada’s auto sector from “unnecessary hardship and job losses.”

The decline in Canadian manufacturing industries background information. Following decades of deliberate, concerted effort by all stakeholders, by the mid-1990s Canada had become a global manufacturing powerhouse. For the first time in our history, we were self-sufficient in the production of manufactured products: we exported as much as we imported – and then some. For a country which had traditionally relied on the export of natural resources to pay for imports of value-added merchandise, this was a tremendous achievement. Sadly, however, this achievement did not last. Other countries had put policies in place to protect manufacturing, specifically the Auto Sector, but to the detriment of our membership, Canada did not. This resulted in the meltdown of Canada’s reasonably successful manufacturing trade position into a manufacturing trade deficit that will exceed $30 billion for 2018 that is still growing rapidly.

There is a long road ahead in our effort to get communities and politicians on side so we need your help and support to turn this trend around. Our collective future is at stake.

History of Labour Day

Labour Day is fast approaching and although it is a busy long weekend for most people with the end of summer looming, kids going back to school or university and family BBQ’s, it is important to reflect on the history of Labour Day and we should take a few minutes to consider what it means for us. 100 years or so ago, if you had a job you would be working 12+ hours a day and 6 or 7 days a week.  As you can imagine life expectancy was short, this was very hard on workers and their families.  These long work hours spawned a series of mass protests and rallies that created the birth of the 8-hour day movement but there was a price to be paid as many union members were killed or imprisoned. Today the average workday is 8 hours thanks to these struggles between working class people, the government, and business owners. Every year we celebrate this incredible victory on Labour Day. For the past 80 years or so our members have joined other unions to celebrate Labour Day and the success of the 8-hour day movement so please try to participate in the day’s activities.

On Monday September 3, 2018, Local 199 will be marching in the Annual Labour Day Parade.  We will join other unions, local businesses and community groups to walk through the streets of Merritton.  We have a float with live Music (Stonewall) and 10 new cars built, powered and driven by union members. We also have a city bus booked so our members or retirees that can’t walk in the parade can participate.  Following the parade there will be more live music (Marty Allen Band), a BBQ and a cash bar, free ice cream and inflatables for kids to play on.  It’s a great family day. We would like to invite you, your family, our retirees and ALL members of the community to walk with us in the Merritton Parade and afterwards join us at the Union Hall (124 Bunting Road, St Catharines). Local Unions can pre- order meal and drink tickets. 

If you would like more information or would like to volunteer please call, text Peter Scott 905-328-9899


“An investment in GM St Catharines … is an investment in your Future” We are launching the #investGMstcatharines initiative as it has proven to be a very successful endeavour in other locations across North America. The goal of this initiative is to recognize the value of our people and what we do in our plant and showcase our members achievements within communities, the National Union and the Company as well as Governments at all levels, all in an effort to attract new work.

An investment in St Catharines:

  • Is an investment in Canada
  • Is an investment in the Economy
  • Is an investment in YOUR Community
  • Is an investment in YOU
  • Is an investment in OUR FUTURE
  • Builds our community
  • Creates good paying jobs for young Canadians
  • Creates apprenticeship opportunities

All ideas to make this campaign successful are welcome..  Join us on Facebook “Local 199 GM unit” and our website “Unifor Local 199”. We post information updates on a regular basis.

New Hires.

Welcome to the New Hires. On behalf of the bargaining committee and the entire membership we would like to welcome you! it’s good to see fresh faces in the plant and we wish you a long and prosperous career here at GM.

Please note: Master language states It takes 90 working days within a 6-month period to finish the probationary period as well as to get paid for contractual holidays for New Hires. Your date of entry seniority does not change regardless if some members get to the 90-working day threshold before others. Also note that any “TPT conversions” in the pool of new hires will get credit for any uninterrupted service that they accrued prior to being hired full-time which will advance their eligibility for holiday pay.


As we near the end of the summer season the entire Union Leadership hopes everyone had an enjoyable and safe holiday!  We look forward to the challenges and opportunities in 2018 and 2019!  The plant is busy in all 3 areas for the foreseeable future with some key areas expected to get busier and we are working on keeping it that way.  



Issued by, Tim McKinnon, GM Unit Chairperson

On behalf of the GM Bargaining Committee, Paul Dortono, Doug Wark, John Rakich, Trevor Longpre, Ken Naldjieff, 
UNIFOR Local 199