Plant Chairperson’s Report
By Bob Scott
On May 17, 2018 Jim Hackett visited OAC. He started off his visit by telling us he was glad to finally get an opportunity to visit Oakville so he could see with his own eyes what was actually taking place in this Plant and get a chance to meet the Leadership. He stated there is always lots of talk about Oakville having white caps in the waves.
Our visit with Jim was approximately two hours. He shared his views on the auto industry, electric vehicles and the fact North America is not quite ready due to the lack of infrastructure. He did however state the North American consumer was pretty excited about the electric F150. Jim spent some time talking about diversity, equality and mutual respect in Ford, especially where women are concerned. He told us to take notice when he is rebuilding his board, we will see more diversity than ever before. Jim opened up the floor for comments and questions. He asked us if there is one thing that you could ask Jim Hackett for help with, what would that be? I told Jim that I would like him to help change the stigma (White Caps in the Waves) because that is not the true picture of Oakville Assembly. I told Jim that since
elected as Chairperson in 2011, I have been working extremely hard with our Leadership and Management to build a respectful work place. I also explained even though our relationship with the previous Plant Manager was not a healthy one, the Union Leadership has given this Plant everything it needs to run and be successful
doing what is best for the Plant. I told Jim it seems that no matter what we do in Oakville we are branded as asses. Jim stated that my opinions were also echoed by his assistant and if we continue down the path we are on, it will get better.
Due to the number of things going on in the Plant this year, we asked Ron Prahin and Joe Closurdo to bring in a greater amount of students. We asked the Plant to help with Unifor training, launch/rebalance issues and summer vacation. The Plant agreed to hire approximately 300 students this year to assist with issues to try and stabilize the Plant. As Chairperson of OAC representing Ford workers, it is my duty to make sure that all employees working on this site are treated with respect and dignity. After listening to many of our members concerns, our Local Leadership has been working with the Plant Operating Committee to find better, more respectful ways of conducting ourselves while serving our members over the course of the business day. The students who work in this Plant are our family members, daughters, sons, nephews and nieces of OAC employees and deserve the same treatment. Please help/guide these young workers and treat them with respect and dignity they deserve.
Ford/Unifor have a joint zero tolerance policy on harassment in the workplace which will be enforced if harassment complaints are investigated and found to be true. Do not allow yourself or others to be victimized. If you witness another employee being harassed put a stop to it, don’t just stand back and allow it to happen. Help us make OAC a Respectful workplace. Rebalances PeriodReductions of jobs in the Plant are never fun and not welcomed by anyone involved. The Local Union challenged the Company’s position during the 2017 rebalance period when the Plant notified the Union they would be doing a 100-day rebalance period on the (D) launch and a 100-day rebalance period on the (U) launch creating a 200-day letter and not a 100-day letter. Our position is the Company has manipulated the 100-day letter language to create two 100-day letter periods in each calendar year. I contacted Whitey MacDonald, Unifor National Staff rep, regarding this issue and explained what I believed was a violation and asked him who in the National Union dealt with Production Standards. Whitey immediately had Scott Smith contact me, Scott and I discussed the language as well as what my belief of the violation is. Scott agreed my interpretation of the language regarding Production Standards was correct and he would have challenged the same things. We then contacted our National Union Staff Auto Director, Dino Chiodo, with our concerns. Dino arranged a meeting with Mike Hyland Labour Affairs Manager, Ford of Canada and David Nangini Union Relations Manager Ford of Canada to discuss the 100-day letter. Dino notified Mike and David he agrees with the position taken by the Local Union regarding our Production Standards concerns. On Wednesday February 28, 2018 the Plant requested a rebalance meeting for the 2018 Reduction Period. During this meeting the Plant notified the Local Union the rebalance period would be from June to December. I notified the Plant the Unions position is the Rebalance period would 100 days. We do not recognize that the Company can onceagain manipulate Production Standards language to create a 200 day letter. I notified the Plant if this cannot be resolved in house then we will be forced to involve the National Union again.
On Thursday February 15, 2018 Sandy Krus, VP Labour Affairs Ford of Canada, notified me our Plant Manager Brent Merritt no longer worked for the Ford Motor Company effective immediately and Joe Closurdo, OAC Assistant Plant Manager, would be temporarily taking over until a replacement is named. Sandy explained the Ford Motor Company valued their relationship with our Local Union and expressed the importance of strengthening this relationship for the future. On Friday February 16, 2018, I met with Dan Jowiski and asked Dan to think of stability when replacing thePlant Manager in Oakville. I also asked Dan to consider our former Assistant Plant Manager Ron Prahin who worked very well with the Leadership in Oakville and
also had a good relationship with ourmembers. On Friday February 23, 2018 I attended another meeting with Dan Jowiski, where he notified us Ron Prahin would be our new Plant Manager. Dan stated Gary Johnson and himself valued my input and trusted that partnering Ron Prahin and Joe Closurdo with Local 707 Leadership was the right thing to do for Oakville’s future. Ron Prahin arrived in Oakville on March 7, 2018 to assume his new job as Plant Manager in Oakville. Ron arranged a meeting with Mark Luey and myself so that we could immediately set a course of business. On March 8, 2018 Ron arranged to have a meet and greet with the #1 and #2 shift Union representatives and set up a meeting with the #3 shift for March 12, 2018. Ron informed the Union it is his intentions to communicate to all Oakville employees; hourly, salaried, vendors and visitors that Oakville will become a respectful workplace.
In November 2017, OAC implemented a new attendance policy which turned our Plant upside down. Our Local Leadership had several problems with this policy change and challenged the Company on all we felt was wrong. Through discussions with Dino Chiodo and Shane Wark, we have been advised to file a Policy Grievance and individual Grievances against the Ford Motor Company for any discipline arising out of this Policy change. This Policy Change has only been implemented at Oakville Assembly Complex and no other location. We filed a grievance based on this policy violating out Collective Agreement as well as the ESA. Dino Chiodo, Dave Thomas, and myself had a meeting in London with David Nangini and Mike Hyland to discuss this policy change after advice from our Legal Department. After the conclusion of this meeting, our In-Plant Committee arranged meetings in the Plant with Gillian Briscoe and Virginia Swindall to continue arguing this Policy. With the help of our National Union Staff and our Legal Department, the Local Union was successful in having the Company revamp their A&L policy again. The Company will be sending notification to our members’ homes with the details of the new policy and hope to have it implemented by April 1, 2018.
Unifor Union Awareness
I was recently asked to attend a Unifor Awareness class to address a few members who were unruly, disruptive and rude towards the instructors. This type of behavior towards the instructor will not be tolerated. The instructor does not select the materials that are being presented to our members; they simply present it. Unifor Awareness classes are negotiated time off the line; you attend paid classroom training. While in training, you are still subjected to Ford’s rules of personal conduct. If you are being unruly in these classrooms you will be asked by the instructor to stop, if these types of behaviors continue you will be asked by the trainer to leave the classroom. Treat your Trainers with respect, they are only doing their job. If you do not agree with any of the materials being presented you have an opportunity at the end of the class to voice your opinions on the comment sheets.
OAC Plant Chairperson