WATCH: Unifor Local 444 president reacts to Stellantis vaccination policy

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The president of Unifor Local 444 is reacting to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy announced by Stellantis.

Union president Dave Cassidy has released a video on Facebook telling union members "collectively, we will get through it as we always do."

The union represents over 4,000 employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant, which is owned by Stellantis. 

As of Dec. 17, all employees, contractors, service provider workers and visitors at Stellantis sites in Canada will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The automaker will also require proof of vaccination before entering a Stellantis facility.

 

In the Facebook video, Cassidy says their job as a union is to make sure they protect everybody.

"If people don't want to get vaccinated, that's your choice. I don't want to mislead anybody though because with choices, sometimes there's consequences," he says.

Cassidy says consequences could include discharge from the employer but the union would lodge a grievance.

"The issues when we've talked with legal, that it hasn't been tested. Potentially when it goes through the process, which is a long process, and it comes into arbitration, and an arbitrator rules on it and rules against us, that's it. People will stay terminated," he says.

Cassidy says this is the most divisive issue he's ever dealt with during his tenure.

"Collectively we will get through it, like we always do," he says. "A lot of messages from members today that they're packing it in. That's not the real answer but it's your choice on what's going to happen."

A company spokesperson tells AM800 News that the consequences for not complying with the vaccination policy will be severe and are not limited to, but including termination of employment. Approved medical or religious exemptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.