LISTEN: Judges Quash Decision to Allow Nemak Plant Closure in Windsor


An arbitrator's decision to allow the closure of Nemak's Windsor plant has been overturned by a panel of judges of the Ontario Divisional Court.

In a decision issued on October 6, 2020, the Divisional Court quashed the arbitrator's decision.

Justice D.L. Corbett accepted Unifor's argument that it had a contractual commitment that the work must be done in Windsor if it is to be done by Nemak anywhere. The Court found that the arbitrator misused evidence about the 2015 negotiation to get a different and unreasonable result.

Local 200 President John D'Agnolo says the fight to keep the plant in Windsor has been worth it.

"The decision itself couldn't have been better timing," says D'Agnolo.  "The plant is going to stay.  They're not moving anything outside of the facility so these going to be a lot of discussion on seeing what we can do to make sure our workers are taken care of on that site." 

In November of 2019, an arbitrator concluded that the union representing the workers did not establish that the employer violated the collective agreement.

Unifor Local 200 argued the company violated the agreement with a decision to shut down operations in June 2020 and move production to Mexico.

"Today is a great day for our members at Nemak who spent months waiting patiently for the court to rule on the future of their jobs at the Windsor Aluminium Plant"  said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "This is precisely the outcome our union and our members were fighting for and the ruling could not be any more clear—when you have a collective agreement with workers you have to live up to its terms."

The ruling now sends the union's grievance back to the arbitrator for a new decision in accordance with the court's reasons.

Local 200 represents 170 workers at the west Windsor plant.

In September of 2019, workers formed a blockade at the plant that lasted two weeks, until the courts intervened and both sides agreed to arbitration.