Local 222 drives changes toward equity and inclusion at GM Oshawa

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Unifor Women's Director Tracey Ramsey with members of Local 222.

Equity and inclusion work at Local 222 GM Oshawa Assembly was highlighted as Plant Chairperson Jason Gale and Employment Equity Representative/Women’s Advocate Teresa Martin invited Unifor Women’s Department Director Tracey Ramsey, and Human Rights Representative Tricia Brown to see the important changes members have driven at the GM Oshawa plant.

“As a former auto worker myself, it brought me deep pride to see the spaces created in the plant that are such meaningful changes for every worker at GM Oshawa,” said Ramsey. “To some, these changes may seem small, but steps toward inclusion are huge leaps forward for every worker.”

Highlights of the tour included seeing spaces like nursing pods where lactating workers can have privacy and appropriate facilities, prayer rooms with foot washing stations, and easily accessible gender-neutral washrooms that mean there is a safe, private place for all members. 

“Walking through the facility and seeing so many women and so many workers of colour, it was so clear to me that Unifor’s bargaining priorities and our demands to create inclusive workplaces is helping to make people feel welcomed and respected - like they belong in the auto sector,” said Brown. “Instead of people having to conform to their workplace, we are finally seeing workplaces being structured to accommodate people.”


Unifor Women's Director Tracey Ramsey with two Local 222 sisters.

The tour encountered the local’s Women’s Committee Chairperson Ann Hubbell who was stationed at the gate with other women collecting donations for the Look Good Feel Better Foundation that helps support women with cancer. 

More women are joining the team at GM Oshawa and the employer is supporting recruitment through programs to support trades apprentices.

“I spoke to a young woman who had applied through the plant’s new apprenticeship program,” said Ramsey. “She took welding in high school and has a Specialist High Skills Major diploma positioning her very well for this opportunity. It’s encouraging to see women take their space in the trades opportunities and I hope they succeed in these well-paying careers.”

While progress is being made, women’s participation in the skilled trades remains very low, representing approximately 6.5 per cent of key auto-related trades occupations.

At the 2022 Constitutional Convention, Unifor launched a new 29-point auto policy that set out a comprehensive vision for transforming Canada’s auto sector into a global leader.

One of the five key pillars that framed the recommendations was advancing equity and inclusion:

Encouraging greater diversity in Canada’s auto sector across all under-represented groups must be an objective of employers, governments and unions alike. Expanding hiring practices and establishing strong workplace-based supports that are inclusive of women, Black workers and Indigenous workers, workers of colour, people who have immigrated to Canada and workers with disabilities, creates needed economic opportunities.

Leading the union’s commitment to this equity work, Lana Payne hosted the inaugural meeting of the National President’s Gender Equity Advisory Group with women from across the auto sector at the height of auto sector bargaining in September 2023.
Every day Unifor continues its mission toward equity, in every sector and in every workplace.

“When we build an inclusive culture at work, we build community, we strengthen the economy and we break down needless and harmful barriers,” said Ramsey. “The future is ours to bargain and ours to shape. Women in our union are making herstory.”

Media Contact

Kathleen O'Keefe

National Communications Director

Shelley Amyotte

National Communications Representative - Atlantic Region