GM Chairperson Report – August 14 2023
Bargaining Committee Update
Unifor officially opened contract negotiations August 10th on behalf of 18,000 union members at the Detroit Three. Your Local Bargaining Committee, along with the committees out of Oshawa and Woodstock, and the National Union, met with General Motors to present them with our member’s demands.
As we continue with master bargaining over the coming weeks, we want to remind the members that the Bargaining Team is going to the Master Table to bring back the best deal for the membership as a whole.
Keep in mind we have several demographics working in St Catharines who have different priorities for a new collective agreement that are reflected from your demand sheets. We have Legacy members with the majority having 35 years or more looking to better their demands, Skilled Trades, New Hires in progression and TPTs who have a variety of demands themselves. While these groups have their different priorities – we need unity amongst the membership and support for the Bargaining Committee.
Remember that there is new product committed for St Catharines to replace the V6. Your Bargaining Committee will secure that investment – and look to build on that positive news by negotiating pension enhancements, demanding to convert TPTs to full time, Trades improvements along with other priorities.
Your Local Bargaining Committee has heard from many members who have shared their concerns and disappointments of previous rounds of Bargaining. We hear you and have shared in some of those experiences. It is what motivates us now to bring home the best possible agreement for our members. We aren’t going to make promises and set a false expectations because there are many ups and downs with bargaining, and nothing is a given until it’s done. While no one can change those past memories or experiences, what we can do and what your Bargaining Committee is committed to doing is making the most of the opportunity we have in front of us right now.
Over the coming weeks as we engage in the Bargaining process there will be a lot of talk and rumors about what is happening and what is to come. Some have already expressed their opinions of how they intend to vote before the opening ceremony was even finished. While we love seeing the passion and engagement of our members, we also know the vast majority of our members will decide their future for themselves once they see the details and cast their vote.
The Bargaining Committee will continue to deal with and share factual information to the membership as often as we are able to keep you informed. We encourage you to continually check in to https://autotalks.uniforautohub.ca/ and our private Facebook group for the most current updates in the weeks ahead.
This isn’t about politics – it’s about character. It’s not about any individual person – it’s about all of us in St. Catharines. This is about getting the strongest agreement for ALL our members and for the future of St Catharines.
For us to do our best – we need the backing of the membership. WE NEED ST. CATHARINES TO UNITE! This is our opportunity to come together in solidarity. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
How can you show your support?
On August 27th we will be holding an in person Strike Authorization Vote – from 11AM to 1PM at the Merritton Community Centre located at 7 Park Ave, St. Catharines.
Strike Authorization votes are the responsibility of each individual Local. According to the Ontario Labor Relations Act, they can be conducted any day, within the 30 days prior to a contract deadline. For our newer members including TPTs, a strike authorization vote does NOT mean we are going on strike at that time. Rather, it IS a vote to show the company that you support your bargaining team by giving them a mandate to call for a strike if it’s needed at some point during the negotiation process if necessary to secure a fair contract for all of us. It is very important that this vote is strong. It sends a clear message to the Company that the Union has the backing of the membership and that they support the Bargaining Committee. A short meeting will be held where the Bargaining Committee will explain more about the strike vote so that members can feel confident in giving their support. With this strong vote in hand the committee will head back up to Toronto with the full weight of the membership’s support to continue negotiations.
In 2020, the highlight package was sent to all registered members early that Sunday morning and the presentation was finished by midday. Online voting was open until noon the following day. This is in contrast to the ballot boxes being closed shortly after the traditional in-person ratification meeting. In essence, members had more time to digest and even discuss the tentative agreement with coworkers and representatives alike before making their decision.
Normally, the ratification meetings are scheduled the Sunday immediately after a tentative agreement has been reached. This is normally 4-5 days in advance of the meeting and that will not change. For the purposes of an online ratification, registration must be started weeks in advance to allow all members the chance to register.
For members who don’t have computers or who aren’t tech savvy, the Union Hall will be available to view the presentation of the tentative agreement and laptops will be available to ask any questions and to cast your vote. Members of the Local Committee will be at the Hall to provide assistance. These details will be announced after a tentative agreement has been reached.
The registration process collects non-GM email addresses from the members and verifies that they are indeed members in good standing. Only email addresses are provided to the outside company handling the voting process. That company is called “Simply Voting” and they provide each vetted email address a link to vote after the presentation. Another email will be sent after a vote has been cast to confirm the vote has been registered for that address. When the deadline for voting is reached “Simply voting” provides results within minutes. No other information is shared with “Simply voting” and as a certified Canadian electronic voting company they destroy all electronic documents related to voting after the competition of the project.
To ensure all of our GM members have the opportunity to participate in the Ratification Meeting and vote, members MUST register. By not registering, you will forfeit your opportunity to have a vote.
If you need help or want to talk with a Union Representative about signing up,
please contact Vincent Filice @ 905-658-7781 or email@example.com.
If you have any questions, please contact your day shift committeepersons.
Labour Day 2023
On September 4 – Labour Day – members and their families are encouraged to join the local as we walk in the Merritton Lion’s Labour Day Parade. This is another great place to show your support for the bargaining committees and to remind the community of the impact autoworkers and union members have. Members who walk in the parade will receive a free Unifor t-shirt.
Following the parade, members are invited to join us back at the union hall for more Labour Day Celebrations including a BBQ, car show, door prize, 50/50 and penny raffle draws, activities for the kids, contests and more!
Visit the local website for details on the parade and union hall event! www.unifor199.org
Keep an eye out for more communication from your local committee on the local union’s website, in-plant on communication boards in the clock houses, on our Facebook Group (Unifor Local 199 GM Unit) and visit Unifor’s AutoTalks 2023 collective bargaining source for autoworkers. https://.autotalks.uniforautohub.ca/
Thank you for your ongoing support!
The Bargaining Committee