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(OTTAWA)- Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development Critic, congratulated Unifor local 200 President John D’agnolo and all the members on their legal victory by a panel of judges of the Ontario divisional court overturning an arbitrator’s decision and stating that the contract between the union and Nemak had to be upheld.

“This is a victory for the workers that have fought for years to maintain auto production here in Canada. They sacrificed by making concessions to get guaranteed production commitments from Nemak written into their contract. The panel of judges recognized that today. Contracts matter. Companies must live up to what they agreed to with workers. They cannot break them to ship jobs overseas,” Masse stated.

A panel of judges of the Ontario Divisional Court has sided with Unifor local 200 ahead of the planned Oct. 22 closure of the Nemak plant in Windsor. In 2019, an arbitrator ruled against Unifor’s grievance and agreed that Nemak’s plant closure could proceed. Unifor had argued that the 2015 collective agreement between the company and the union contained the guarantees that the Windsor plant would be the “sole source” for new work for General Motors. The union then launched a judicial review of the arbitrator’s decision. The ruling by the judge panel sets aside an arbitrator’s November 2019 decision that allowed the transfer of General Motors work to Mexico, costing about 200 Canadian jobs.

Masse wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and Innovation Minister on September 11, 2019, pointing out that Nemak received “$3 million from your government under the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP). Under this program significant reporting requirements are necessary during and after the project work phase. This is a seminal moment for holding a company to its responsibilities. Nemak’s commitments to the government and taxpayers for its use of public capital for innovation. Secondly, ensuring the company is living up to its contractual obligations to its workers. Thirdly, whether a government will ensure that a private company will be held accountable for its actions and be expected to abide by the laws of this country.”
“It is appalling that not only did the government do absolutely nothing to help workers in this case or to protect taxpayers from Nemak’s craven attempt to ship off Canadian government investment to Mexico, but a failed federal liberal candidate was the lawyer for Nemak in this case. The hypocrisy and failure of the liberals in fighting for Canadian autoworkers and the industry is out in the open for all to see,” Masse stated.

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