In 1949, our members worked for Nash Motors – a division of the Nash Kelvinator Corporation. The plant was located on Danforth Avenue in Toronto and produced the “Nash Rambler”. At that time, our members belonged to UAW Local 1115. Nash Kelvinator was later bought by the American Motors Corporation (AMC). The first contract between the UAW and AMC occurred in 1956. The line speed was 22 cars per day.
AMC built a plant in Brampton at the corner of Steeles Avenue East and Kennedy Road and in 1961 began building the Rambler. The line speed was 32 cars per shift. Local 1285 received a separate UAW charter on May 12, 1961. Charlie Carr was elected as our first President.
Several other workplaces have joined Local 1285 since 1961. There are currently 16 units in the local. Terry Gorman was the longest serving President of any CAW Local—he was elected in 1975 and served 6 terms. Buzz Hargrove was our National Representative in 1975.
In 1977, AMC hired its first union sister, Cecilia Palmer. Today, The Daimler Chrysler Brampton Assembly Plant has one of the highest, if not the highest, percentages of female workers of all major automotive assembly plants in North America.
In 1985, the CAW separated from the UAW. We received our CAW Charter that year. What is now known as the Brampton Assembly Plant was built in 1986 by AMC Renault. Chrysler bought out AMC and acquired both plants in August 1987. The plant built the “Premier”, and the “Monaco”. The line speed was about 250 cars per shift, but there was only one shift, and not a lot of work. Layoffs were rampant. The Kennedy Road Plant worked steady producing jeeps.
The LH vehicles, “Intrepid”, “Eagle Vision”, and “Concorde” were introduced at the “Bramalea” plant.
The Kennedy Road plant was closed on April 4, 1992.
President, Terry Gorman retired in 1993 and Vince Bailey was elected as President.
The “New Yorker”, “LHS”, and later the “300M” were Introduced. The Brampton Plant went to three shifts under the AWS system. Chrysler became DaimlerChrysler in the fall of 1998.
In 2001, the third shift was eliminated as a part of DaimlerChrysler’s financial “turnaround plan”.
In 2004, the Brampton Assembly Plant started producing the “300C” and “Magnum”.
In 2005, the third shift was restored. An additional vehicle, “The Charger”, was introduced.
In 2007, Chrysler was sold to Cerberus.
In 2008, the third shift was eliminated. Later that year, the “Magnum” was dropped from the product lineup. The “Challenger” was introduced.
In 2013, The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada merged to form a new group called Unifor, Canada’s newest — and largest — private sector union to turn the tide for Canada’s labour movement.
The links below take you to additional history of Canadian automobile workers:
An interesting perspective of Canadian labour history is available at: www.civilization.ca
Unifor Canada’s largest private sector union: www.unifor.org/