Chairpersons Report Sept 15th, 2023
Master Bargaining Update
Here’s where things are currently. Despite the news from the UAW Thursday night, Unifor and Ford Motor Company are still negotiating and will continue to do so towards the deadline of Sept 18th at 11:59pm. Unifor’s goal and drive continues to be to negotiate the best possible tentative agreement for the 18,000 Auto workers in Canada by establishing the pattern with Ford. National President Lana Payne provided an update of where these negotiations are at via live stream Thursday evening, and it can be replayed at the Autotalks.ca website. As Vice-Chair of GM Master Bargaining, I am still in Toronto attending the daily Ford Caucus and Economic Review Committee Meetings to ensure the interests of St. Catharines are heard and included in the pattern.
We have been receiving questions regarding UAW strike actions, and I want to address some plant specific questions.
Q – What impact will the UAW strike have on our plant?
A – Currently, it has no impact on St. Catharines. The GM Wentzville plant in Missouri has no connection with our plant or supply chain. If another location is selected by the UAW, then we will assess the impact to St. Catharines and communicate the next steps. Currently there is no impact to us.
Q – If another plant is selected which does impact our plant, what happens then?
A – If our plant is impacted then Local management will issue a communication with those details. Our members will be laid off as a result. Members with at least 3yrs seniority will be eligible for sub benefits.
Q – What happens if Ford Canada and Unifor are not able to reach a tentative agreement before the deadline, will we be on strike then?
A – It’s critical to understand that Ford and Unifor are negotiating right now. GM and Stellantis are on hold until Ford is done. GM and Stellantis will continue to report to work on their regularly scheduled shift on Tuesday and beyond until further notice. GM and Stellantis will be extended as in previous rounds of bargaining until the pattern is established.
Q – Who is going to be selected to go second?
A – That has not been determined yet and nothing will be announced until a tentative agreement with Ford has been reached.
Q – Any update on the ratification meeting status?
A – At the Strike Authorization Vote I was presented with an envelope with a petition from the members who want an in-person Ratification meeting. As promised, I brought that petition to Toronto with me and have discussed it a couple times before Ford was selected to set the pattern. Since then, all matters have been about Ford. Nothing has been determined yet because of that. More to follow.
Q – What are some details that can be shared from the Ford negotiations?
A – President Lana Payne addressed this question in Thursday night’s live stream. The details of the negotiations are very fluid especially this close to the deadline. Unifor is in a completely different position than the UAW. Every Canadian plant of the Big 3 has some sort of investment that’s already been announced with a strong future ahead. The same can’t be said for all the UAW plants. While we may have similar issues around things like wages, pensions, tiers, and temps that we are looking to make improvements on we must understand there are distinct differences that are unique to Canadians. For example, our healthcare system, labor laws, negotiated contracts and country to name a few. For these and other reasons it’s not a direct comparison with the UAW. Any gains in this round of bargaining should be compared within the Canadian context.
Further updates will be provided next week as details emerge.
Issued by, Trevor Longpre, GM Unit Plant Chairperson
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee, Scott Little, Tony Verde, Stan Kuczma, Ed Steers, Jordan Lennox