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.

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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: