Elect Rebecca Keetch!

Local 222 President: Run-off Election

The first vote for Local 222 President was extremely close:

This result is a powerful indication that the members of Local 222 desire a change in the direction of our Local. Because no candidate received a majority, there will now be a run-off election between the top two finishers. Voting days, times and locations are posted in each workplace, and are also posted on the Local 222 website (scroll down to find your workplace) . In addition, there is voting at the Local 222 Union Hall in Oshawa on Monday, June 6 and Thursday, June 9 from 8 am to 4 pm.

Your vote counts – Change is possible!

Change Starts With You and I – A song

Lyrics composed by a Local 222 member.

Solidarity Movement Newsletter #4

The fourth issue of the Solidarity Movement newsletter has been published.

Issue #4 features:

  • The Jerry Dias ethics breach and why a more thorough investigation is required
  • Racism not welcome here
  • Amazon Labor Union Victory
  • Resolutions for the Unifor Constitutional Convention – Improve Pensions Now, Equal Wages and Pensions in Bargaining and Legislation
  • #WheresMyContract

Here is the newsletter, as well as a download button. We hope you enjoy it. Please share it on social media, by email, or by downloading and printing for people where you work.

Contact us if you would like additional newsletters for your workplace. You can also let us know if have a question, a comment, or suggestions for future newsletters. Send an email to solidarity@solidaritymovement.ca

Join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292972735372052

Jerry Dias Ethics Breach – Thorough Investigation Needed

Update – The Local 222 membership meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022 voted to send this letter to the Unifor National Executive Board.

The allegations surrounding Jerry Dias are very serious and we must urge that the scope of the investigation be immediately broadened. A letter has been drafted—it needs your support at the May 5 membership meeting to be sent. Here is the letter:

Re:  Request for Additional Investigation Resulting from Constitutional Complaint

Like many members of Unifor, we are shocked and frustrated by the revelation of ethical violations by former Unifor National President Jerry Dias. This situation raises many questions that demand answers. If members’ confidence in the union is to be repaired the scope of the investigation within Unifor must be immediately broadened. While it is clear that a serious breach of the Constitution has occurred if Jerry Dias accepted money from a supplier in exchange for promoting their product, it is not clear that this is the only breach. It is not clear that his actions or the actions of others do not cross other lines warranting further investigation.

Members are aware that the incident involving a bag of cash and alleged improper dealings with a supplier company, is now in the hands of the Toronto Police financial crimes unit. However, there are important questions beyond the details of the specific incident forwarded to the Toronto Police Service that must be thoroughly investigated to restore member’s confidence in our union.

Concerns that should be further investigated include, but are not limited to:

  1. Unifor stated at the press conference on March 23, 2022 that “We are treating this as an isolated incident.” However, there must be a thorough investigation to find out whether or not it is an isolated incident. Unifor is requested to undertake the type of investigation that is necessary to make that determination. 
  1. Unifor is requested to examine and report if there are policies or practices that facilitated, encouraged, or failed to prevent serious ethical lapses? Are there systemic issues to be corrected? Unifor reported that former President Dias “promoted a supplier’s rapid test kits to various Unifor employers, either directly or through Unifor staff under his direction”. What is wrong with the culture of our union that this did not set off red flags?
  1. These allegations have created serious unease about the potential misuse of dues money. Unifor is requested to complete a thorough audit of spending practices by top leadership, elected and appointed, to ensure there has not been improper personal benefit or misuse of funds. 

The test of our union’s integrity is just beginning. Unifor cannot claim transparency and accountability as a union if we leave important questions unanswered. Now is the time for hard conversations, evaluating our direction, and repairing our relationship with our members.

Unifor Convention Resolutions

Breaking News:

Both of these resolutions were endorsed by the Unifor Local 222 membership meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Local Unions can, and should, send resolutions to the Unifor Constitutional Convention to advocate for the policies our members need. Here are two important resolutions on improving pensions, and getting back to the fundamental union principle of equal wages, benefits and pensions. Both of these resolutions were endorsed by the Local 444 membership meeting, but the more Locals that support them the better.

Equal Wages, Benefits and Pensions

Resolution for the Unifor Constitutional Convention 2022

Improve Pensions Now

Resolution for the Unifor Constitutional Convention 2022

These resolutions will be proposed to the Local 222 membership meeting on Thursday, May 5 at 3 pm at the Local 222 Hall – 1425 Phillip Murray Ave. in Oshawa.

Please attend the meeting to help get these resolutions passed.

Other Ideas for Resolutions?

If you have other ideas for resolutions you would like to see adopted write them down and bring them to the meeting on May 5. If you are unsure how to write a resolution, we are happy to help. The deadline for Locals to submit resolutions or Constitutional amendments is May 10, 2022 at 5 pm ET. The process is described in the Call Letter.

Here are the pages from the Call Letter that describe how Locals submit resolutions or amendments, and guidelines for writing a resolution. If you have any other questions – please contact us at:

solidarity@solidaritymovement.ca

Solidarity Movement Newsletter #3

The third issue of the Solidarity Movement newsletter has been published.

Issue #3 features: a report on the strike by John Deere workers in the US who won wage and pension increases and defeated the company plan to take away defined benefit pensions from new hires; highlights from the first Local 222 paper, the War Worker, in 1943; a call for the Local to provide more information and involvement by supplier workers in negotiations for their first contracts; and a commentary on the abandonment of the principle of equal pay for equal work when the union agrees to 4% payments for some workers and not others.

From the article:

As 2nd tier workers again feel the sting of being left behind we should ask, ‘What has happened to our union?’ Has our leadership learned to accept management’s perspective so well they forgot the workers perspective?

Equal pay for equal work. Period. This is a fundamental union value and helps to build solidarity and strength within the union. Anything less and we allow the company to divide and destroy us. The membership needs to get the union leadership back in line.

Here is the newsletter, as well as a download button. We hope you enjoy it. Please share it on social media, by email, or by downloading and printing for people where you work.

Contact us if you would like additional newsletters for your workplace. You can also let us know if have a question, a comment, or suggestions for future newsletters. Send an email to solidarity@solidaritymovement.ca

Join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292972735372052

The War Worker

1943 Issues of the Local 222 Newspaper

Did You Know … That the General Motors operations in Oshawa were completely converted to military production in 1942, and that the first issues of the Local 222 paper in 1943 were called the War Worker?

Workers in Oshawa, about 50% women, manufactured trucks, ambulances, artillery tractors, tank hulls, and fuselages for the Mosquito bomber. 1,689 GM employees joined the armed forces during WWII, and 73 were killed.

The November 29, 1943 issue of the War Worker headlines a full labour slate for City Council, Board of Education, and Public Utilities – sponsored by the Oshawa & District Labour Council which included Local 222. “The working people of Oshawa form the majority of the city’s population … If all union members and their relatives turn out to vote there is no doubt that the labor candidates will be elected to all civic posts.”

Other topics covered in the War Worker: the Credit Union, the Women’s Auxiliary, many of the feeder plants, meetings of the strong stewards body, reports on union meetings (a resolution urging the Canadian government to admit refugees from Nazi regimes), and public forums on political topics.

General Motors military production workers in 1943 – credit Canadian Automotive Museum

Members were urged to pay their monthly dues (which were voluntary at the time) at the dues wicket in the Local 222 offices at 17 ½ Simcoe St. N., above the A&P store.

Issues of the War Worker from 1943, and of the Oshaworker from 1944 and 1994 to present are available on the Unifor Local 222 website.

The complete issues of the War Worker for November 29, 1943 and December 11, 1943 are available in pdf form by clicking the buttons below:



Oshawa Supplier Workers Deserve Information and Involvement

The leadership of Unifor Local 222 has stated that negotiations are under way for new units of supplier workers that have been hired to perform many jobs at the revived truck assembly operations of GM Oshawa. Solidarity Movement members in Oshawa are calling for the Local to provide more information and ways to get involved for these workers.

Many of the workers are former Local 222 members who lost their jobs in December 2019 when the companies they worked for ended operations at the same time as the GM assembly lines came to a halt. Most of them received pitifully low severance. The new units include TFT Global (doing work formerly done by Syncreon and CEVA), Android, Auto Warehousing, and others.

Here is the Solidarity Movement statement. There is also a pdf that can be printed and distributed.

Solidarity Movement Newsletter #2

The second issue of the Solidarity Movement newsletter has been published.

Issue #2 features: a review of developments in the UAW, where a group of rank-and-file members is building a movement for more democracy and a fight against concessions; a short history of the occupation of Houdaille Industries in Oshawa in 1980 which helped win important improvements to legislated severance language for all Ontarians; and a report on the ongoing strike by 700 workers at De Havilland Aircraft.

The front page feature calls on Local 222 members to sign up for online membership meetings. Local 222 has arranged for membership meetings to be held on Zoom but the leadership has not done a good job of getting the news out to members. All the meetings have been cancelled for lack of a quorum of 50 members and we haven’t had a Local membership meeting in 2 years. The lack of commitment by the leadership is seen by the fact that very few Executive Board members or in-plant elected reps have signed up themselves. The newsletter provides the necessary information in an effort to get more members engaged:

How can we accept this behaviour? Change is needed, and YOU, the members, can make it happen. Without meetings the leadership isn’t accountable for their decisions, they don’t have to answer questions in an open forum, and they don’t have to engage the membership.

There is no democracy without meetings. We don’t get to ask questions or raise       concerns about problems in our workplaces, elections, or COVID.  We can’t vote on appeals, motions, or financial decisions. We can’t make collective decisions. Failure to hold meetings denies our DEMOCRATIC right to participate in running our Local.

If 50 members sign up we will have a quorum and the meeting should be held. Please sign up now. Our union is only as strong as the members who participate.

Here is the newsletter, as well as a download button. We hope you enjoy it. Please share it on social media, by email, or by downloading and printing for people where you work.

Newsletter Download

Click the button to download a copy of the newsletter to print and share.

Newsletter article on UAWD with clickable links:

Rank and File UAW Members Fight Against Corruption & Concessions and For Democracy

An exciting new rank and file movement is growing in the UAW – the union representing most autoworkers in the US. Local 222 belonged to the UAW until the formation of the CAW in 1985.

According to their mission statement Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) is a grassroots movement of UAW members united in the common goal of building a more democratic, and accountable union.”

Why Was UAWD Formed?

The UAWD believes, “the rank-and-file of our union MUST be the highest authority in the UAW—whether at our Conventions, at our Locals, at the bargaining table, or on the shop floors of our workplaces across the country.”

The recent corruption scandal in the UAW has highlighted the need for reform – a dozen high-ranking UAW leaders, including two former International Presidents, have pleaded guilty to corruption and collaborating with corporate managers who wanted to keep union heads “fat, dumb, and happy” in order to “grease the skids” for concessions.

The UAWD points out that, Over the last 70-plus years of our union’s history, we have been beholden to a one-party state. That one-party—the Administration Caucus—has concentrated power in the hands of a select few. In the last forty years alone, the Administration Caucus has engaged in various partnership schemes with the very same corporations that continually cut our jobs, attempt to gut our benefits, and have outsourced countless good-paying union jobs.”

The deals the UAW negotiate in the States greatly affect Canadian bargaining. It’s harder to make gains here when the concessions are so brutal there.

The US prosecutor investigating corruption in the UAW has mandated reforms including a referendum of all UAW members in November to decide whether to continue with a system where members elect delegates to go to Convention and those delegates elect the leaders, or have the leadership elected directly by all UAW members in good standing (One Member One Vote).

The UAWD is currently mobilizing support for “One Member One Vote” . They believe this will be a step to rooting out the corruption plaguing the UAW. There are strong feelings on both sides of this debate.

Jerry Dias announced at the Retired Workers Council that he will retire as Unifor National President next August and said “we are having discussions about the best replacement”. Whether or not you support one member one vote, the membership should be freely determining who is our next President, and not have it predetermined behind closed doors.

Solidarity Movement Newsletter for Local 222 Published

Members of the Solidarity Movement in Unifor Local 222 have published issue number 1 of a new newsletter for members of their local. Distribution in the many workplaces represented by Local 222 began today. There is a regular history column – “Did you know?” – that features accounts of inspiring battles from our past. There is also an article on the important fight against 2-tier contracts by striking Nestle workers and the solidarity they received from the community, other workers, and members of Local 222.

The newsletter also highlights a long list of problems faced by Local 222 members, but also presents practical solutions for bargaining, communication, greater democracy, accountability, and solidarity – which are the key principles of the Solidarity Movement.

In the words of the newsletter:

The purpose of a Local Union is to bring together the members to advance their common interests. The top leaders of Local 222 fail to do that in so many areas – they have lost their way.

We have poor communication, no membership meetings, two-tier contracts, constantly eroding wages and benefits, and retired members have been left behind.
It is outrageous that we pay our President and Financial Secretary almost $150,000 a year each, and they see no reason for restraint even though our dues income is down substantially.

Here are some ideas for positive change. If you agree with them – join us. Be part of discussing and preparing proposals to membership meetings. Help support candidates that pledge to implement policies that will benefit all the members.

Newsletter Download

Click the button to download a copy of the newsletter to print and share.

GM Should Hire Displaced Workers

UPDATED MAY 31, 2022

  • May 31, 2021 – Letter to Mary Barra (GM CEO) and Scott Bell (GM Canada President signed by four members of Local 222.
  • June 8, 2021 – GM’s response sent to the four members and to the Solidarity Movement email address.
  • June 11, 2021 – Solidarity Not Slander – A response to attacks on the members who sent the letter.

Solidarity Movement Letter to Mary Barra and Scott Bell

When GM ended vehicle production in Oshawa on December 18, 2019 it meant the elimination of 5,000 jobs. Some senior GM employees were eligible for full pensions plus an incentive. Junior GM workers, especially tier two workers and TPTs were eligible for much less. Most of the over 2,000 supplier workers had no options and received the statutory minimum or slightly more. Now that GM is restarting pickup truck assembly they have announced that they will hire 1,500 assembly workers. This letter was sent to General Motors on May 31, 2021 urging GM to offer the new jobs to the workers they displaced in 2019:

May 31, 2021

Sent via Email

Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Company

Scott Bell, President and Managing Director, General Motors Canada

RE: The hiring of displaced workers, including supplier and support workers at the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant

This email was sent to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company, and Scott Bell, President of General Motors Canada on May 31, 2021 by four Local 222 members of the Solidarity Movement

As members of Unifor Local 222 and the Oshawa community we believe that it is a matter of justice that General Motors Canada offer employment on a priority basis to displaced autoworkers, including supplier workers.

GM alone decided to close the Oshawa plant, a decision that was made to serve only the interest of the company, despite the pleadings of workers, politicians, and Canadians across the country. While it is true that some high seniority GM workers may have left with a well earned pension and severance package, thousands of others directly impacted by your decision did not.

Over 80% of supplier and service workers were not eligible for any pension and left jobs whose wages didn’t provide enough to have savings to cushion the blow of lost employment. Also negatively affected by the closure were 400 workers in the second tier wage progression (many who were full-time temps for years before getting hired as seniority employees), 500 TPTs (many that were full time), and hundreds of other workers who were forced to abandon good wages and pensions when GM ended vehicle production.

Many workers severed their employment relationship with GM because they felt they had no choice. GM was only offering to maintain 300 jobs in Oshawa. They accepted as true what you told them – that GM was ending vehicle assembly. It was impossible for them to know that less than a year later GM would announce the return of the highly profitable Sierra and Silverado pickup trucks.

Supply chain workers at companies like CEVA, Syncreon, Lear, Inteva, and others, were not even given a choice in the decision to sever. They had their lives turned upside down through no fault of their own.

Now General Motors will hire 1500 assembly workers for the new pickup truck operation. GM, you have the ability to hire the workers whose work contributed to your profits over the years, including the workers from the supplier and service companies that were the hardest hit by GM’s decision to end operations in Oshawa.

This request is not without precedent. GM has previously offered jobs to workers affected by plant closure in our community. In the case of the Acsys closure, GM agreed to employ nearly every Acsys worker. In this case, GM is solely responsible for the loss of jobs and livelihood. GM may not have a contractual or legal obligation to rehire the workers they displaced, but GM certainly has a moral obligation to mitigate the harm they have caused.

We want to remind you that Canadians value loyalty and fairness. We are asking you to commit to hiring all displaced autoworkers, including the supplier workers, and requiring any company you contract with to do the same. This would be a small step towards repairing your relationship with the community.

These workers deserve the opportunity to put food on the table, look after their families, pay their rent, and get back to work.

We look forward to your reply.

On behalf of the Local 222 Solidarity Movement,

Rebecca Keetch, Vic McCullough, Chris White, Tony Leah

Original letter: http://solidaritymovement.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Displaced-Worker-Letter-to-GM-May-2021-1-pg-pdf.pdf

GM of Canada Response to the May 31, 2021 Letter

Solidarity Not Slander

Solidarity Not Slander – Leaflet published June 11, 2021.

On Monday May 31, 2021 we sent a letter to GM asking them to hire the auto workers and supply workers that GM displaced in 2019. This is basic union solidarity – we should be supporting workers who paid dues to Local 222 for years. Unbelievably, instead of supporting displaced workers, some people have been attacking us for sending the letter. We have been accused of misrepresenting ourselves and even forging signatures.

There have been all sorts of rumours circulating and lots of anger and confusion to go along with them. The main rumour seems to be that GM froze or canceled the agreement to allow workers in CCA to move to Truck as reprisal for the letter we sent. Frankly, this makes no sense.

But let’s unpack it…

  • The Local 222 ratification brochure stated (http://local222.ca/wp-content/uploads/gm-local_222.pdf) that “…all employee movement to the Oshawa Assembly Plant will be restricted for the life of the collective agreement unless otherwise agreed between the parties through mutual agreement.” But also that “…We have already moved this needle forward and have agreements to allow employees from CCA and the plant to transfer through mutual agreement subject to the eligibility criteria.”
  • The March 18 GM Shop Committee update reported that “The Union has successfully secured movement to Truck which far exceeds what was originally negotiated. Members will be able to canvass/post to preferred and non-preferred jobs. In the weeks ahead we will begin canvassing for critical positions…”
  • Jason Gale’s Summer Oshaworker article reports that “With the first round of production job canvassing completed, we will focus on the second round of production job canvassing…”

Clearly Unifor and GM have an agreement regarding the movement of people from CCA to Truck. How could a letter from a laid off worker and some retirees that respectfully asks GM to hire displaced workers derail the agreement? The Shop Committee should be able to defend the agreement they made.

We identified ourselves as ‘members of Local 222 and the Oshawa community’. We signed the letter on behalf of the Local 222 Solidarity Movement and sent it from the Solidarity Movement email account. We cc’d the GM Plant Chair and Local 222 President as a courtesy. We were being transparent, not going behind their backs. We have nothing to hide.

We have been told that some union leadership have been claiming we forged the names of the GM Plant Chair and Local President on the letter. The email is reproduced on the back of this flyer in its entirety. You can clearly see who the signatories are and who is only cc’d. At NO time did we misrepresent ourselves as elected leadership and we did NOT forge any signatures. We did not send multiple emails. If there are people in our union leadership who don’t know what a ‘cc’ is on an email we hope they aren’t negotiating contracts. Contract language is a lot tougher to understand.

Forgery and misrepresentation are serious offenses – those people who are making these vicious accusations should retract these lies and apologize. We are sickened and furious with this slander, which has led to threats, calls for termination, and banishment from worker communication groups.

Anyone who attends union meetings or follows social media will know that we are not afraid to voice our opinions publicly. We clearly signed our own names to this email. Can anyone really believe we would be stupid enough to forge signatures? We would never do something so reckless, wrong, and illegal.

We want to be clear, we stand by our letter. Fighting for the displaced workers is what solidarity demands. Members that were in the wage progression, full-time TPTs, supplier workers, mid-seniority traditional employees were all dues paying members of Local 222. They deserve to be fought for.

Honest debate is healthy and promotes solidarity. False accusations and slanders against people you disagree with does not. Who actually benefits from the slander? It’s not us and it certainly isn’t the membership. Seven months after the collective agreement was ratified, the membership should be able to see the actual language and MOU’s that have been negotiated. At the very least, there should be GM unit meetings where the membership can receive updates from our elected leadership and discuss issues openly.

In solidarity,

Rebecca Keetch, Vic McCullough, Chris White, Tony Leah.