UPDATE: Unifor Fined for Contempt of Court in Nemak Blockade

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

A Windsor judge has ruled Unifor and four union leaders are in contempt of court for ignoring an order to end a blockade at the Nemak plant. 

Nemak lawyers were asking Justice Terry Patterson to also impose a $250,000 fine for a blockade that has lasted 12 days. Patterson had set a deadline of 2 p.m. Friday for both sides to resolve their issues.

The company's legal team filed contempt of court charges against Unifor and union leaders after they ignored an Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling on Sept. 4 and a court injunction on Sept. 5 to end the unlawful strike.

According to AM800's Peter Langille, Justice Patterson imposed a onetime fine $75,000 Friday and ordered the blockade to end by 12:01am Sunday morning.

Unifor Local 200 will be fined $10,000 each day and Unifor Plant Chair Mike Jobin, National President Jerry Dias, Local 200 President John D'Agnolo and Vice President Tim Little will be fined $1,000 each day after that date.

Workers set up a blockade at the Windsor plant on Sept. 2 in response to Nemak's decision to close the plant in June 2020 — a closure that will put 173 employees out of a job as the company moves the work to Mexico.

D'Agnolo says Unifor is asking the company to live up to their current collective agreement and keep the plant open until the end of 2022.

Company officials claim they have lived up to the terms of the collective agreement, which only calls for 60-days' notice of a plant closure — D'Agnolo noted they signed a five-year deal with Nemak in 2015, and in 2016, the company asked the workers to take a wage-freeze for three years, starting in 2019.

In exchange, Unifor claims Nemak promised three products would be built here.

Nemak says it cannot keep the plant open, since customer orders are too low, and the plant would only be operating at 10 per cent of capacity.

— with files from CTV News and AM800's Peter Langille.