LONDON, ON, June 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Meeting in advance of the start of bargaining with the Detroit Three auto companies this summer, delegates to the Unifor Auto Council voted unanimously to make new investments in Canada, including new product allocations, the top priority of the talks.
"When we get into bargaining, the number one priority will be maintaining and expanding the footprint of the industry in Canada," said Chris Taylor, Chair of the Auto Council and the President of Local 200 at the Ford engine plant in Windsor.
"That was the unanimous decision of our members here today."
The 120 delegates to the council, representing the bargaining committees at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Canada, passed unanimous resolutions calling for each company to commit to bringing new products to Canada, and to specific investment mandates for Canada for assembly and powertrain operations.
They came to London from Unifor Locals at Detroit Three auto plants in Ontario, bringing with them the priorities for bargaining from each of those plants. Prior to these meetings, the locals from each of the Detroit Three companies met to discuss their main concerns. With today's meeting, they came together to set priorities for the industry as a whole.
"The priorities we have set today for new products and commitments to investment mandates are about the continued prosperity of our industry and our communities," said Taylor.
The council meeting was opened by Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who said that ensuring new investments in Canada would benefit the entire Canadian economy. Unifor is also committed to achieving improvements in other key areas such as wages, new hire provisions and more, Dias said.
"The auto industry pays huge benefits to our communities, in terms of spinoff jobs, the wages our members spend in their local communities and the taxes they pay that support schools, hospitals and more," Dias said.
For every job in auto, nine more are created throughout the community at suppliers and other companies that sell to the auto plants, as well as the spending done by those workers, he said.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including more than 40,000 in the auto industry. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.