Sisters and Brothers,
As the summer months come to an end, I hope everyone had the chance to enjoy their shutdown period and spend time with friends and family.
As you are all aware, the company is taking steps towards reducing shifts, laying off members within our plant. The bulk of these members being laid-off, are young workers like myself. For many of them, this may have been their first unionized job or first time being employed full time. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to all of those junior members affected by these layoffs.
Our leadership has been taking all necessary steps to ensure that the fewest number of workers possible become affected by the reduction. Thanks to the hard work and negotiations done by our in-plant committee, almost all of the laid-off members have been brought back to work. While this is great news and will ensure these members have jobs leading into the holidays, it is unclear what awaits for the junior membership beyond December. As eluded to during the previous membership meeting, these initial layoffs may be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be a long road between today and next year’s contract negotiations. I’m asking that all members, both junior and senior, stand together and show support and solidarity through these times.
With the impending layoffs in mind, and considering the state of other unionized auto plants within the province, we must look ahead towards the upcoming federal election. This election will be crucial in defining the future of the automotive sector within the province of Ontario and across the nation. We must ensure that we elect a government that helps to strengthen the automotive sector, and makes keeping good Canadian jobs a priority. I encourage all members to do their part in listening to their local candidates, researching each party platform, and making a well-informed decision on October 21st. This goes especially for the younger members, as those between the ages of 18-30 have historically represented the smallest percentage of voters to cast their ballot. In the 2015 federal election, only 57 percent of people in Canada aged 18-34 participated, compared to approximately 75 percent of voters between the ages of 55-74. As Rick Mercer has once stated, “If you’re between the age of 18 and 25 and you want to scare the hell out of the people that run this country, this time around do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people all around the world are dying to do. Vote.”
If you are interested in learning more about the issues that many working class Canadians are facing this upcoming election, Unifor National is putting on a campaign in order to increase member’s awareness of federal politics. This campaign highlights major issues that we, the working-class face, as well as encouraging members to head to the polls this October. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign, please visit www.uniforvotes.ca
Young Workers Chairperson