From the President – Auto Council Report

Auto Council Report

Auto Council was held November 4th, 2021. Delegates from across the Detroit 3 Auto Companies met in London, Ontario. In attendance for Local 199 was General Motors Chairperson, Trevor Longpre and President Jordan Lennox.

The day opened with elections. The following delegates were elected for the following positions:

Auto Council Chairperson – John D’agnola (Ford)
Vice Chairperson – Jason Gale (GM)
Financial Secretary – James Stewart (Stellantis)
Recording Secretary – Mike Murphy (GM)
Trustees – Danny Price (Stellantis)
Mark Brennan (Ford)
Mike Van Boekel (GM)

Following elections were Chairperson reports from each location. Concerning messages coming from Stellantis delegates around the sustainability of Brampton and Windsor. Other reports showed the fragility of the auto industry during the current EV transition.

Angelo DiCaro, Director of Research, presented an EV slideshow examining the shift to EV and the Unions position on developing a National Auto Policy. The new Auto Policy will focus on promoting EV development on Canadian soil, while impressing upon the Canadian government the need for their involvement.

Shane Wark, Assistant to the National President, provided a report as well. There were three themes to his presentation – the EV transition, supply constraints (semi-conductors), and COVID-19 vaccination policies. Overall, the auto industry in Canada has seen a combined total of 108 weeks of downtime, primarily due to the semi-conductor shortages. In the full scope of the shortages, North American auto production has had the majority of the downtime.

The National Union has been in conversation with Stellantis regarding the precarity of the Brampton site. Four separate independent research analysts have reported the work in Brampton being sourced to the United States and no further product allocation to the Brampton site. Stellantis has not been upfront about their plans, but the National Union continues to apply pressure and pursue concrete answers.

The National has expressed concern over the “Buy American” EV vehicle rebate on vehicles built in the United States. The concern is that this policy will push investment to the United States and impact future Canadian product allocation. Shane made it clear that 2023 bargaining will be focused on securing new work and investments, as has become an obvious trend.

Regarding the vaccination policies the Detroit 3 have implemented. Two locals have filed policy grievances – Local 444 and Local 88. The National cautioned that this may impede arguments that may arise during individual grievance defense. The National is still in conversations with the Detroit 3 but admitted that the companies have not been open to changing the terms of their policies.

Jordan Lennox, President
Unifor Local 199