By Dave Thomas
Brothers and Sisters:
So much has happened over these past few months and it is difficult where to begin. It is old news but we have a new Plant Manager, Ron Prahin. I received a phone call from Sandy Krus, Labour Affairs Manager for North America, notifying me Brent Merritt no longer worked for Ford Motor Company. Short and sweet, no more to be said, we were not sorry to see him go. Ron Prahin was the Assistant Plant Manager previously in Oakville and we always found him to be fair.
Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor Company, visited our Plant. Not sinceBill Ford have we had someone this influential from Ford Motor Company. Your In-Plant Committee had an opportunity to sit with Mr. Hackett to discuss not only the future projections for Oakville but also his vision for the Company as whole. His vision for the future is
quite extensive to say the least. I have reported before about his drive to enter into the EV (electric vehicle) and AV(autonomous vehicle) markets. The EV market is in the not too distant future but the AV vehicles remain something for future endeavors at this point in time.
I believe, our job as leadership is topromote Unifor Local 707 to all levelsof Ford Management. We have the bestworkforce in the world and this messagewas sent loud and clear to Mr. Hackett. Our quality and competitiveness are second to none and the working women and men of Local 707 make that happen on a daily basis.
He toured throughout the Plant, integrated with membership and he was quite impressed with the OAC facility. As I have said before, this bodes very well for the long-term future of Oakville.
I had an opportunity to attend a Lobby on the Hill in Ottawa. The topic athand was to promote the need for aNational Pharmacare plan throughoutCanada. My lobby group included PamDamoff Oakville-North Burlington riding, Francesco Sorbara Vaughan-Woodbridge riding, both are Liberals andCarol Hughes, NDP MP from the Algoma-
Pam Damoff has always been to someextent union friendly especially for Local
707 as our membership is a big partof her constituency. The two Liberal candidates relayed exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been saying that the Liberal Government is doing a study to determine the feasibility of implementing
such a benefit. Most would say, it is a stall tactic and will be used as an election chip in next election.
Carol Hughes NDP MP certainly added some spark to the group. She spoke very pointedly about the Liberals’ delays. Needless to say, her viewpoint is the same ours: Canada needs a National Pharmacare Program.
Well we got what we asked for. Amajority Government in Ontario. Ontarians
headed to the polls on June 7thand elected the Progressive Conservatives
to lead our Province for the next four years. What a swing of power! We went from a majority Liberal Party to a majority PC party.
What is most interesting is the NDP party are now the official opposition party, while the Liberal party lost its official party status. Wow talk about a whirlwind! Once again, it has never been my agenda to push my political views onto anyone. Most people know my affiliations. Remember, this government works for us and we have the right to challenge the decisions they make on how to spend our hard-earned tax dollars.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Brother RudyCuzzetto. Rudy was elected in the Mississauga-Lakeshore riding. Rudy has been a 707 member for 30 years. I have known him for a long time and we have had many discussions about different political issues. Although, we did not agree on a lot of them, I respect his positions and wish him the best. Hopefully some of that union blood will influence
some of his decision making. Congratulations and good luck Brother.
I cannot write a report, brothers and sisters, without discussing the bizarre instability happening south of the border. U.S President Donald Trump’s leadership style is uncanny to say the least. He seems to spend more time on his Twitter account than he does trying to lead the country.
I am sure everyone is up to speed with the war of words going on between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump. What we need to be concerned about the most as Canadians is the proposed tariffs he plans to impose on several Canadian Imports. Steel and aluminium are at the forefront along with auto manufacturing. Trump is threatening a 25 percent tariff on all steel and aluminium. This tariff is passed onto the consumer and equates into approximately $10,000 on the price of a vehicle.
It could be a very rocky road. Unifor will need to come up with a very strong strategy moving forward to try and combat this type of tactic by the U.S. I will say, I have been very impressed by the stand taken by Chrystia Freeland Minister of Foreign Affairs. Her message has been very clear from the onset; we as Canadians will not back down from the bullying policies the U.S government is trying to impose. Minister Freeland visited Local 707 on January 14, 2016 when she was the International Trade Minister. She seemed truly interested in what concerned the constituents of Canada.
Labour Day Parade
Closer to home since there will be no general membership meetings scheduled
for the months of July and August,I would like to remind everybody about the Labour Day Parade on Monday September 3rd.
Local 707 has had a long-standing tradition of taking part in the Hamilton area parade and I look forward to the many members who will be in attendance. Brother Iain Fleming, our Union in Politics Chair, does a great job every year of organizing the event. There will be a picnic with food and drinks supplied by the Local after the parade. Please come out and support the labour movement.
As I write this report the August shutdown is fast approaching and it is a time to share with family and friends and enjoy some much-deserved downtime. Relax and let our bodies heal from the day to day grind. We have another holiday week scheduled for the first week in August followed immediately by a layoff week. Enjoy the time off as we usually are not afforded this much down time in the peak season of the year.
I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy summer holiday season. See you at the parade and the next meeting in September.
President Unifor Local 707