President of the Windsor and District Labour Council proud of this years labour negotiations
The Interim President of the Windsor and District Labour Council says he's proud of the stance made by workers this year when it comes to labour negotiations.
Mario Spagnuolo says while there have been many strikes this year, and some companies who just avoided a strike, he's proud to see the solidarity when it comes to those looking for a collective agreement.
This year has seen many strikes, including Windsor Salt workers who were on strike for six months, a brief strike by General Motors employees, a short strike by Stellantis members, and more recently when Magna Integram Windsor Seating workers walked off the job.
Spagnuolo says that he has never seen as many employees reject tentative agreements more than this year, but says that shows that workers are fighting to ensure they're compensated fairly with the increase in the cost of living.
He adds that solidarity does make a difference when it comes down to getting a collective agreement.
"It also illustrates that collective bargaining does work, that when governments say they need to impose back to work legislation, that really is not needed. When you have two people at the table, or two parties at the table negotiating seriously and trying to find some mutual benefits on both sides and finding some common ground, that a deal is in reach."
Spagnuolo says it's unusual for tentative agreements to be rejected, but they have been many times this year.
"Recommended agreements have been rejected by workers on the front lines, and that speaks to frustration with the cost of living, things are costing more money, our salaries aren't keeping up with what things cost in the grocery store. So I think that's an indication to both labour and management that we really need to communicate with members."
He says he's proud of the stance employees are taking.
"I mean the [Windsor] Salt workers obviously demonstrated the epitome of solidarity and sticking to what they believe in. Even the recent Unifor talks and what happened across the bridge and the tunnel with UAW [United Auto Workers], it just speaks to the resolve of workers. And that when you do stick together, and you stick to your principles, that you are able to achieve."
Spagnuolo adds that this is a prime time for unions to make demands that workers deserve.
He says many of these employees worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic without stopping, and they need to be compensated fairly for that work.