February 22, 2024

Didcot Gateway

Building Cars, People First

Detroit 3 vaccine mandates a go in Canada despite union’s call for pause

The union’s national office, in conjunction with locals 88, 444, 707 and 1285, which respectively represent workers at auto plants in Ingersoll, Windsor, Oakville, and Brampton, Ont., sent letters to the three automakers this week and last highlighting concerns with the polices that will require staff to be vaccinated or face possible termination.

An update to Local 707 members Oct. 27 said Ford has not paused or made changes to its policy expected to take effect Jan. 3. The bargaining committee said it continues to hold discussions with the company.

“We believe that the company has the opportunity to implement a reasonable policy that includes alternatives that can fulfill their obligations to provide a safe workplace for all their employees,” the bargaining committee said in its update to members.

Ford acknowledged receiving the letter, but did not comment further.

Grievances

At GM’s Ingersoll facility, Mike Van Boekel, Unifor chairperson, told members despite union concerns, the automaker intends to go ahead with implementing its policy Dec. 12 as originally published. Local 88 plans to submit a policy grievance with GM as a result.

“We think the policy is being pushed too quickly without enough information. We also have some ideas and concepts that would help people retain jobs,” Van Boekel said in an Oct. 27 letter to members.

Van Boekel reiterated the wider Unifor stance urging members to get vaccinated, adding members must “respect each person’s choice to become vaccinated or not.”

GM said it has received the letter from the union but has not adjusted its timeline. “Our team is committed to implementing a fair and reasonable approach when the policy takes effect,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Locals 404 and 1285 are also readying policy grievances they plan to file with Stellantis. In letters signed by local presidents Dave Cassidy and Danny Price, the union said the company “should follow other workplaces in a manufacturing setting that have vaccination policies that offer safe alternative options for those who choose not to vaccinate.”

Cassidy said in a Facebook post that “people should have a choice” and that “nobody should be fired.