Unifor Local 444 President Looking Forward To 2018

The president of Unifor Local 444 is calling 2017 a whirlwind of a year.

James Stewart says he never imagined he'd be heading into 2018 sitting the president's chair.

Stewart took on the challenge in August when outgoing president Dino Chiodo left to become Unifor's National Automotive Director.

He says he's got big shoes to fill going forward.

"You look at our whole history. Ken Gerard, Larry Bauer, Ken Lewenza, Dino, Charlie Brooks. It certainly is a large role to fill and you want to make sure you're going in there and you're doing everything," says Stewart. "The expectation is high for Local 444. The community depends on you to make sure that the community is looked after."

He says 2018 is going to be a busy year.

"Right off the bat, we have our feeder plants for the Windsor Assembly Plant going into bargaining almost immediately along with Caesars Windsor. Caesars is our second largest employer in the community and when you put all the feeder plants together, that's a large employment base for the community. So we have a lot of work and that's right January, February, March."

Stewart says, technically, he's the interim president as the union will be holding an election in May to officially fill the position.

Unifor Local 444 represents over 10,000 active members and 7,000 retirees over 40 bargaining units.

 

— with files from AM800's Peter Langille.