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

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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 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

Join our Facebook group:

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.

Latest News

Dias says he’s “… hunting elephants”.

· Petition hits 1,400 signers
· Coverage by Automotive News
· Dias says “I don’t chase mice when I’m hunting elephants”.
· Unifor belongs to the members
We have reached over 1,400 signatures – let’s keep it going.
The campaign has caught the attention of the Automotive News, “the newspaper of record for the automotive industry”.
The story published September 1st reports:
“Rebecca Keetch, a laid-off worker at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario, plant told Automotive News Canada the petition stems from frustration with the ratification process. Without knowing the full details of the contract ahead of time, it is impossible for workers to ask all the relevant questions they might want answered during ratification meetings with union leadership, she said.”
“This isn’t an attack on leadership in any way. This is an exercise in achieving our democratic rights,” Keetch said. “Our union constitution is full of statements about transparency and democracy, so I think that it’s important that whenever possible our union uphold these standards to the fullest.”
Automotive News also contacted Unifor President Jerry Dias about the petition. Instead of acknowledging that this issue is one that concerns thousands of Unifor members, including the 1,400 who have already taken the step of signing the petition, Jerry’s response was unfortunately dismissive:
“Unifor President Jerry Dias said the petition was not on his radar”.
Who does Jerry think are the mice?
Automotive News continues with this cryptic quote from Jerry:
“I’ll take my lead from the leadership, and leadership will make a decision on what they want to do internally within their own workplaces,” Dias said. “I don’t chase mice when I’m hunting elephants.”
The article ends with this common sense quote from Rebecca Keetch:
“The highlights sheet and the information meeting are extremely important aspects of this,” she said. “But how can you know what questions you need to ask when you’re handed a sheet just before you go in?”
She urged Unifor to follow the example of the UAW in the U.S. The UAW posts its “white book,” which details in full changes to the contract and agreements between the union and automaker, in the days leading up to a ratification vote.
“I think that a pretty important component to democracy is being able to make an informed decision,” Keetch said.
The members are the ruling body
The Unifor Constitution makes it clear that Unifor is intended to be a democratic organization, and that the members control the union. Article 2, Section 1:
“Unifor is a voluntary organization that belongs to its members. It is controlled by members and driven by members. Its role is to serve their collective interests in the workplace and in our communities. The life of Unifor is shaped by the essential ingredient of democratic participation. Democratic values are the foundation of all that we do. Our commitment to the principles and practices of democratic unionism define who we are and are reflected in our rules, structures and processes.”
When is the last time well over a thousand Unifor members signed a petition asking the union leadership to meet a simple democratic demand? The members’ concerns should be acknowledged not simply dismissed. Real democracy means taking our lead from the members.
We can only win what we are willing to fight for. Please sign and share the petition and spread the word.

Why do UAW members get to see the full contract before they vote, and Canadian autoworkers don’t?

Update: August 14, 2020

Canadian rank and file workers have long wanted the release of the full contract before ratification meetings. We shouldn’t have to find out later about details that weren’t revealed. We shouldn’t be handed a brochure as we walk into a meeting where we are expected to discuss and vote on our contract before we have done more than skim the information.

It’s important for autoworkers in Canada to know that members of the UAW in the United States organized around similar demands and won important victories.

The UAW now publishes the ratification highlights brochure and the full contract with all changes, on their website – where members can read it before they go to their ratification information meetings or votes! (

The White Book:

The ‘white book’ is the full master agreement, with all changes shown. In the GM ‘white book’ all new language is underlined. Every word that is deleted is shown crossed out. Every new or changed paragraph is shown on a page with the date it was agreed, and with the initials of the parties.

The ‘white book’ also contains a list of all paragraphs that have not been changed or deleted. You can view the ‘white book’ for the 2019 contract with GM at this link:

This is an incredibly important resource. Ordinary workers have time to look through the agreement and look for the information that is most important to them. People have a chance to discuss with each other, ask questions, and consider the importance and impact of each change. This is exactly what the Solidarity Movement is demanding from the Unifor leadership. If the UAW can do it, so can Unifor.

How UAW members won advance disclosure:

The UAW started sharing the ‘white book’ in response to rank-and-file organizing by the New Directions movement and others. New Directions was concerned with the direction their union was taking. They fought to empower the membership and increase democracy. Sharing the full collective agreement before ratification voting was one of the democratic demands made by New Directions. Finally the UAW leadership agreed to produce limited copies of the ‘’white book’ and send them to Local unions. By the time of the 2011 contract with the Detroit 3, the UAW leadership was posting the highlight brochures and the ‘white book’ on their website. The UAW leadership listened and responded to the demands of the membership.

Would you buy a car after only looking at the highlights of the contract?

Our collective agreement is incredibly important, and determines our working conditions, benefits and pay for the next 4 years. It is profoundly undemocratic to force us to vote based on a list of ‘highlights’ when we have the technology to provide full disclosure. We elect a bargaining committee and trust them to bargain for us. In return, they should trust the membership and give us full information about what they negotiated 5 days before we vote.

Sign and share the petition – over 1,000 signatures and growing.

900 Signatures Reached

[This message was sent August 11, 2020. We are now over 900 signatures.]

A message to Unifor members in ‘Big 3’ bargaining.

Sisters and Brothers,

Over 700 autoworkers from 8 different Locals have signed the petition to ask Jerry Dias to provide full disclosure of the collective agreement 5 days ahead of ratification and for a clear statement in the ratification highlights of all money and benefits negotiated on behalf of union representatives and any money or benefits negotiated to be paid to the Locals and/or National Union.

We are told to trust our elected representatives to bargain for us and we do. Big 3 bargaining basically takes place behind closed doors with very little information or room for membership participation. It is up to our elected representatives to do this very important work. But when the bargaining is done, it is up to the membership to vote to ratify the agreement. It is at this stage that the membership must have all of the information, both the actual contractual language and the presentation explaining the leadership’s position on what is being proposed.

This request should not be construed as an attack on leadership but rather an opportunity to strengthen communication and trust between leadership and the membership. Our union’s constitution is built on transparency and democratic values; informing and educating the membership is key to upholding these principles.

Members must have the right to look at, digest, and formulate questions on the document that will shape their work lives for the next 4 years and beyond. This cannot be done in any meaningful way as our ratification process is currently done.

This petition cannot ‘make’ leadership do anything but it is important that we make the effort to collectively communicate and it’s important that leadership listens.

Let’s send a strong message! Please sign and share this petition with your co-workers! It is challenging to reach everyone and can’t be done without YOU. Please have the conversation with your local leadership as to why this issue is important to you. Nothing will change if we don’t even try.

For those not on social media the petition can be found at

Petition Launch!

Full Contract Disclosure Before Ratification Votes

To members of Unifor in the auto plants:

Sisters and Brothers,

Solidarity Movement petition.
Sign and share widely!

As 2020 bargaining is starting there is an issue that impacts all of us, no matter which company we work for, that must be addressed. The membership needs to send clear direction to the National Union that we must have full disclosure of the contract before we vote to ratify it.

This has been something discussed for years and it is long past time that this should have occurred. We have the technology to do this, we have the democratic right to have access to the entirety of what we are voting on, and the UAW posts the ‘white book’ ahead of ratification for their members.If the UAW can do it, why can’t Unifor?

The ratification highlight sheet and presentation are very important and appreciated but the current structure of ratification does not give members the opportunity to consider what they are being asked to vote on or to properly ask questions or raise concerns. This will be even more challenging during the pandemic as we can’t gather as usual for ratification meetings and votes.

It’s 2020 and it’s time.

We are asking members to sign and share this petition. For members that are not online there is a PDF version that can be printed and taken around the workplace if safety permits as well. (This can be found at the bottom of the electronic petition page.)It is up to all of us to make this happen. This is an opportunity for the membership to speak directly to leadership.

Please sign and share!

Petition to Unifor National President Jerry Dias:

The undersigned demand Unifor leadership provide full disclosure of the contents of the contract, 5 days before ratification, by publishing all revisions, additions, deletions and changes to the contract, clearly marked, on the Unifor National website and the websites of the locals involved in ‘Detroit Three’ bargaining. The UAW does this with their ‘white book’.

We also demand that the ratification highlights include a clear statement of all money and benefits negotiated on behalf of union representatives and any money or benefits negotiated to be paid to the Locals and/or National Union.