GM Health & Safety Reports – 2024

 Health and Safety Report   January, 2024

 Building a Psychologically Safe Workplace

In our last report, we mentioned the BEV3 project that will provide us all with a working future and the challenges we will face as the plant undergoes the process of re-tooling HFV6 and GF6, requiring the removal of old and installation of new equipment. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the Auto Industry, and we want to acknowledge that some people will experience pain during this retooling process. We also want to reassure them that some of us have experienced this many times during our careers, that this pain will be short term, and they won’t be forgotten by those who remain working. As always, we as Union Leadership will work through issues as they arise and will do everything we can to resolve them by focusing on what is the right thing to do for the benefit of all members.

Sometimes resolving difficult and complex issues requires time to research and formulate informed arguments so decisions can be made that will benefit both the Union and the Company. This is the art of negotiation, and every conversation is an opportunity for bargaining. We don’t win every argument, but we will fight with all available resources, and we will recognize our wins. Resolving the GMIN issue was a huge win.

The past couple of months, issues tied to the HFV6 wind-down has been stressful on all of us, but especially some of our junior members facing lay-off without a clear understanding where they stood in line of seniority. The stress experienced by everyone in the Plant has been palpable, thus affecting everyone’s psychological health and safety.

Psychological Health and Safety has been a topic of discussion for several years and is such a huge can of worms. It’s been very difficult to gain traction to “move the needle” on this…that is until recently. Mary Barra and Lana Payne discussed in Oshawa Nov. 2022; We discussed during GM Safety VP Marcos Purty visit Feb. 2023, which followed up with the Safety Culture Survey in June. It comes up during Brian Webb Safety Empathy Conversations we’ve participated in; We have agreements from 2023 Bargaining including a new Employee Assistance Program (EAP); We conducted stress conversations during Union Awareness classes in Nov/Dec. 2023, and most recently participated in a Safety Culture Roadmap Workshop meeting with Senior EV Safety Manager Francisco Hernandez in Jan. 2024 to review the results of the Safety Culture Survey and discuss next steps for creating action items.

2023 was the year of gathering data, and 2024 will be the year we work jointly together with the Company to improve our Safety Culture for the benefit of everyone at the GM St Catharines Propulsion Plant. The new EAP is an excellent resource for people in crisis, and we encourage everyone to explore available options you may need. For prevention, we are heavily engaged in this part of the process because our goal is to make our workplace a better place to work, by implementing permanent corrective actions that affect positive lasting changes to improve our psychological health and safety for the long term. You may ask why?

We had 21 documented lockout violations last year, the most of any Plant in the Corporation. So far this year, we’ve had 2. This trend is unacceptable because it threatens everyone’s physical, psychological, and financial safety, and the future of this facility. We must improve our safety culture by removing barriers that lead to complacency and normalized deviance, and the data supports focusing on issues for addressing the repeating occurrence of nuisance faults. The aggravation of nuisance faults is no excuse to violate energy control polices. These faults must be escalated and addressed. More to come…

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers, 905 641 6420, Cell/Text 905 658 3271

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Richard Piper 905 641 6505, Cell/Text 289 228 7126

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