Unifor 444 president and Windsor-Tecumseh MP visit PM to discuss NextStar

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There's been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about the NextStar Energy battery plant in Windsor, in particular due to temporary foreign workers being brought it to help set it up.

Despite various levels of government downplaying the controversy, Federal Conservatives this week pressed for the government's contract between Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions to be released to the public at an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on Monday.

On Wednesday, Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy was up in Ottawa along with Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk to speak directly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the seriousness of the issue and try to tamp down worries.

Speaking on AM800's The Morning Drive, Kusmierczyk says the temporary foreign workers coming in to help with set up won't have any impact on the 2,500 permanent jobs that will be local, Canadian and unionized.

"They're going to be Unifor members. And we talked about the huge impact that this investment and those 2,500 jobs are going to have on the community," he continued. "All the spinoff jobs, the fact you're going to have businesses and restaurants benefiting from that huge investment and all those workers making good money there."

Kusmierczyk says the facts are what they are about the jobs, and they just wanted to come together and strengthen the relationship between the government and local workers.

He says the message basically was that the government fought together with Unifor and labour to land the plant.

"We fought hard to secure the battery plant during those tough renegotiations and we will fight tooth and nail to protect this plant, this investment, and those jobs from Pierre Poilievre and his campaign of disinformation to undermine the battery plant," Kusmierczyk said.

He, along with Cassidy, told the Prime Minister Windsor has the best work force in the world, which is why Stellantis and LG picked the city to build the battery plant.

Kusmierczyk says they want to maximize Canadian workers in all phases of the project, from construction, to building the batteries, to installing the equipment.

"After the meeting with the Prime Minister, Dave and I went straight into a national press conference. Dave wanted to deliver a message directly to Pierre Poilievre and his message way: stop the circus, stop undermining our battery plant, and Dave said, if it was up to Pierre Poilievre this battery plant would never have been built."

Last week, in response to the controversy swirling over reports of temporary foreign workers being brought to Windsor to help set up the NextStar EV battery plant, Cassidy called the issue nothing but political hay.

The electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant will be receiving $15 billion in federal and provincial subsidies to locate in Windsor.

 

- with files from AM800's The Morning Drive and Rusty Thomson