Brothers and Sisters,
During this difficult time, we hope that everyone is staying safe and doing their part to help flatten the curve. To this point we are happy to report that we have not been notified of any members of Local 707 or their family being diagnosed with covid-19. It has been reported that there were 9 UAW auto workers who died due to covid-19 virus in the United States.
Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this virus. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the front-line Health Care workers who despite personal risk, continue to work to provide essential care for those in need. We also want to acknowledge every worker helping to ensure our daily needs are met, from grocery clerks to truck drivers. A special recognition to the fourteen Brothers and Sisters at Local 200 Windsor for their work in manufacturing protective face-shields for our front-line Health Care workers.
Currently the company has not given a date that the plant is expected to start production. Leading up to this week, the In-Plant Committee and Safety office were having regular meetings. We discussed what safety measures needed to be implemented when production does start up again to ensure the health and safety of our members and everyone in the Oakville Assembly Plant. This week the Oakville Assembly Plant had only a small number of people in the plant working both hourly and salaried. Conversations regarding when the plant is going to start up and the safety measures that are going to be implemented will continue after the Easter weekend.
Employment Insurance, Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (C.E.R.B) & S.U.B
With covid-19 virus spreading throughout North America at a rapid and unparalleled rate, it has left all levels of government scrabbling to put into place Health and Economic measures to protect all Canadians. As the Federal government quickly put together these economic programs, the usual care and consideration for all circumstances have not been considered, proof of this can be seen in the lack of consideration the Government has put into the implementation of the C.E.R.B (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit). Simply put, the impact of C.E.R.B for those with Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plans were not considered when the Liberal Government implemented the program this week. This has caused great concern for all Unifor Autoworkers who are eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits on or after March 15th, 2020. As Under the rules of C.E.R.B if you became eligible for EI regular benefits on or after March 15th 2020, your claim will automatically be processed through C.E.R.B.
This has and will continue to cause great confusion throughout our membership, who will be eligible for Employment Insurance or CERB based on when they applied or became eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.
We have members who started an EI claim the week of January 5th to 11th 2020. Those members to the best of our knowledge, should continue to qualify for regular EI benefits with a maximum weekly gross entitlement of $573.00. Other members who did not start a claim prior to March 15th, 2020 may collect an Employment Insurance Benefit, but will be switched over to C.E.R.B. Those collecting C.E.R.B will receive a weekly gross maximum of $500 per week.
The continued eligibility for C.E.R.B is quite different from Employment Insurance Benefits as a result we are extremely concerned about the impact it will have on our membership that are in receipt of Supplemental Unemployment Benefits.
Our concerns are shared with all of Unifor and the National Union, as a result we have been on conference calls, spoken directly to Members of Parliament, trying to get questions answered on the new C.E.R.B program and assurance that we will not be negatively impacted because of our S.U.B plan. One of our most important concerns is that Supplemental Unemployment Benefits will not be considered earnings for those in receipt of C.E.R.B. The National Union are awaiting a response form the federal government, however we are hopeful and expecting the federal government will give us assurances that S.U.B payments will not be considered earnings, even if it means they have to adjust legislation on the C.E.R.B. We will update the membership once we receive an official response.
The Unifor has put together information (attached PDF below) on the C.E.R.B effective April 6th, however as you have seen, these programs can change.
C.E.R.B-April 6th 2020
Holiday Pay-Good Friday April 10th & Easter Monday April 13th 2020
If you were on lay-off, as you were not in receipt of work wages or Vacation pay for:
The week of PP15 the week Beginning Monday March 30th to Sunday April 5th 2019
and PP16 the week Beginning Monday April 6th to Sunday April 12th 2020.
You would not qualify for Good Friday April 10th Holiday Pay or Easter Monday April 13th 2020.
Therefore, on your respective Bi-weekly Employment Insurance reports you should not report any Holiday pay earnings.
In these challenging times we hope that all our members and their families stay safe. We will continue to keep the membership informed as we get more information.
Mark Sciberras Bob Scott Marc Brennan
President OAC Plant Chairperson Unifor, Vice Chairperson
Unifor Local 707 Unifor Local 707 Ford Bargaining Committee
Skilled Trade Chairperson
Unifor Local 707