Master Bargaining Committee Report- August 12th 2020

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Bargaining preparations

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused municipal, provincial and federal governments and health authorities to enact certain restrictions and measures in an effort to contain the virus. This has created some challenges for the Unifor Ford Council team, both at a Local and National level.

Strike Mandate Vote

As we look to secure a future for the Oakville Assembly Complex, this year more than ever we need a strong Strike mandate to show the solidarity of the Local 707 membership.

As all members should know, a strike mandate vote is not a vote to strike. Rather, it is a vote to show the employer that you support your Local 707 Bargaining Team and the amendments we’ve developed together over the past 9 months. By giving your Bargaining Team a mandate to call for a strike at some point in the future, it provides us with the necessary solidarity and strength to secure future product for OAC and an acceptable contract.

History shows that a high “YES” vote in strike mandate reduces the likelihood that a strike will be necessary, as Companies are always more willing to work with a bargaining team, that has the full support of their membership behind them. The opposite also applies, as low or weak strike mandates can result in prolonged negotiations, concessions and strikes as the employer is emboldened with the belief that the membership does not support the amendments put forth or it’s bargaining committee.   

Sunday, August 30, 2020 we will conduct our strike vote. I encourage all members to participate in this important event which is part of the bargaining process.

New Online process for our Local Strike Vote

During past Local 707 Strike mandate votes we have called a Special Membership Meeting (in person), where the bargaining committee would address the membership and request a strike mandate. Normally this process would last only a couple of hours.

However, due to COVID-19 provincial restrictions, it is expected that we will not be able to have more than 50 people in the Local 707 Union Hall at one time. Therefore, we will not be able to have our traditional Special Membership Meeting. Instead, in coordination with the National Union and the D3 Canadian Automotive Local Unions we will have an online Strike Mandate vote. In the weeks leading up to August 30th 2020, you will receive an information package, mailed to your address on file. This information package will provide you with a personal password and information about how you can cast your online Strike Vote.  The Local 707 Bargaining Team, recognizing the importance of connecting with the membership and will posting a message about August 30th 2020 prior to the Strike Vote.

If you do not have online access or need assistance voting.  Our Election Committee will be available at our Local 707 Union Hall, on August 30th throughout the day from 9:00 am to 5:00pm, to ensure you are able to cast your vote.

While voting takes place the Local Bargaining Committee and I will be at the Local 707 Union Hall to speak to members in small groups for those that have questions about the process and the importance of 2020 bargaining to OAC.  To effectively manage everyone’s Health & Safety if you have to visit the Union Hall to vote or ask questions it is important to note we will be practicing social distancing and so once you’ve asked your question and/or voted please exit the building to allow others their chance to vote. To avoid crowding please don’t linger.  Further details on our Strike Mandate vote will be posted on in-plant boards.

Ratification Vote

A Ratification vote, will be an even greater challenge in this COVID-19 environment, given circumstances provided by Provincial and Local Health authority mandates. The D3 Canadian Automotive Locals of Unifor are working with the National Union and are looking to repeat the practice of online voting for the ratification vote, using the same password and process used in our Strike Vote. We will keep you further informed of the plan, as a tentative ratification date becomes closer.

In Solidarity,

Mark Sciberras                                         Bob Scott                                               Marc Brennan

President                                         OAC Plant Chairperson                 Unifor, Vice Chairperson

Unifor Local 707                                  Unifor Local 707                  Ford Bargaining Committee

Darrin Caerels

Skilled Trade Chairperson

Unifor Local 707