August 24, 2017
Chatham – A major victory for Navistar workers in southwestern Ontario, as former plant workers are set to receive $35 million in payments, will be marked with a family barbeque and a media conference this Saturday.
“This was an eight-year struggle for justice for not only these workers, but their families as well. It is only appropriate, then, that we celebrate it with an event for the entire family,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Dias will attend the barbeque in Chatham, and hold a media conference at 2:30pm to talk about the vital role played by labour in achieving justice for working people, their families and their communities, and the victory at Navistar.
“It is only unions that stand up for workers and fight for justice through thick and thin, as we did with Navistar,” said Dias. “It’s a role we take very seriously and we are continuing on many fronts, from the bargaining table to the talks to renew NAFTA.”
Dias was in Washington for the first round of talks to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement, and was on hand as a stakeholder to offer advice to the Canadian negotiators. He will continue this role at the second round of talks in Mexico in early September.
• WHAT: Unifor Barbeque and Press Conference
• WHERE: Unifor Local 127 Hall, 280 Merritt Ave., Chatham, Ontario
• WHEN: Saturday, August 26, 1-4pm, press conference at 2:30pm
• WHO: Unifor National President Jerry Dias, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Bob Orr, Local 127 President Nicole Grainger, Local 35 Vice-President Joe Lucier, Local 127 Financial-Secretary and former Navistar unit chair Cathy Baker-Wiebenga and former Local 127 committee member Doug Wright.
Production at the Navistar plant in Chatham stopped in June 2009, with the company announcing the plant's permanent closure in July 2011. The company refused to pay its workers, members of Unifor Locals 35 and 127, the severance as required under Ontario law. An arbitrated decision earlier this year awarded all entitled workers their outstanding payments under the Employment Standards Act.
An earlier decision by the Divisional Court of Ontario ruled Navistar workers aged 55 or older and with at least 10 years of service were entitled to a special early retirement benefit. As well, those with at least 55 points of combined age and service could "grow into" a special early retirement benefit. The court also ruled that all laid off or disabled workers should get a supplementary 0.9 year of credited service.
For more detail on the Navistar arbitration, go to unifor.org/navistar.
For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.