Unifor to Meet Monday to Decide Next Move at Nemak

AM800-NEWS-Nemak-protest-September-2-2019

Union leadership is sitting down to figure out if they have any moves left when it comes to the planned closure of the Nemak plant in Windsor.

A grievance filed by Unifor against Nemak was dismissed by an arbitrator Friday, effectively signalling the end of the road for 170 workers at the plant.

According to a release from the company, the arbitrator concluded that the union did not establish that the employer violated the collective agreement.

It notes the grievance filed by Unifor regarding the closure of the plant must be thrown out.

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

In September, workers formed a blockade at the plant that lasted two weeks, until the courts intervened and the union backed down after the company agreed to arbitration.

Both sides agreed to abide by the decision.

Local 200 President John D'Agnolo tells CTV Windsor the union will meet  to see if they still have a leg to stand on.

"We're going to sit down with the [Unifor] national and we're going to go over the document and we'll go from there," he says. "We haven't had that meeting yet, I'm going to be sitting down with them in the afternoon," he says.

Nemak received millions of dollars from the government for the Windsor plant.

D'Agnolo says Unifor will look at how to prevent companies like Nemak from taking money and walking away in the future.

"They did the right thing. You had our municipal government, our federal and provincial government at the time, make a decision that they were going to invest here in Windsor and Nemak basically backdoored them too unfortunately," he says.

D'Agnolo hopes all levels of government will step up to assure corporations honour commitments after receiving tax breaks.

"Unfortunately they can go to Mexico and pay a worker $2.70/hr, it's sad. We're going to see more and more of this until our government steps up, which by the way, we did have the federal government say we have to make changes. Unfortunately the provincial leader did not do that, Doug Ford," he says.

D'Agnolo says the plant is expected to close by the spring of 2020.

 

With files from Ricardo Veneza