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.