Unifor Local 1285 stands in solidarity with all the workers at the Oshawa GM plant
International Human Rights Day

This year marks the 70th anniversary that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that states that human rights are not the preserve of any one nation, race, or gender but that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Unifor is committed to advocating, defending and furthering human rights for all. The union’s social justice fund is one of many ways in which Unifor provides solidarity to defenders of human rights. The union’s social justice fund engages in this vital work in Canada and across the globe. The fund promotes and supports the role of trade unions and workers groups in their efforts to strengthen democracy, promote equitable development, and contribute to poverty reduction, social justice and education reform.

The union’s Human Rights Department has been actively promoting human rights campaigns in workplaces, the local unions and communities. Most recently, Unifor conducted an equity audit over nine months during 2016 and 2017 and included semi-structured interviews with 470 local unions across the country, and asked questions about the diversity of local membership, the executive committee, stewards, and bargaining committees.

While the union is aware that representation gaps exist, the purpose of the audit was to understand the specific barriers better to overcome our collective challenges. The union is currently implementing the recommendations made from the national equity audit report. Members are encouraged to read the full equity audit report and learn more about Unifor’s findings and action plan.

Attaining human rights for all will not come easy. But if we actively incorporate promoting human rights in our daily lives, it can be attainable. Members can become active human rights defenders by:

  1. Ensure your local union participates in Unifor Human Rights training.
  2. On December 10, use Unifor’s social media shareable to highlight the union’s human rights work.
  3. Read the full Unifor equity audit report and promote the report to your members.

International Human Rights Day is a reminder that inequity, intolerance, discrimination, exclusion, and hatred threaten us all. It is a reminder of our shared humanity and of the necessity of standing up not just for ourselves, but for those most in need. Wherever they are challenged, it is our responsibility to offer a collective response.

Unifor statement on Oshawa GM plant

OSHAWA – Unifor received notification today from General Motors that the company will make a major announcement tomorrow that will impact its global operations.

While the union does not have complete details of the overall announcement we have been informed that, as of now, there is no product allocated to the Oshawa Assembly Plant past December 2019.

Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement.

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‘They are not closing our damn plant’: Union vows fight as GM plans Oshawa closing

The union representing thousands of autoworkers is vowing to fight back against the General Motors plan to close an Oshawa, Ont., plant in 2019 as part of a global restructuring.

It’s not clear how many of the 2,500 employees at the Oshawa assembly facility will lose their jobs under the sweeping strategy, which GM says aims to lower carbon emissions and prepare for a future of electric and autonomous vehicles.

Workers at the plant walked off the job Monday morning in protest.

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, blasted GM’s move, which he says violates its agreement with workers. He praised those who work at the plant, which is about 60 kilometres east of Toronto.

“You’re the No. 1 plant that [GM’s] got,” he told the crowd.

“They are not closing our damn plant without one hell of a fight.”

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‘Sick and tired of being pushed around’: Union responds to GM plan to close Oshawa plant

TORONTO – The union representing workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., are promising “one hell of a fight” after the automaker announced it would close the location along with four other facilities in the U.S.

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, said the union will fight against the planned move “tooth and nail.”

“They are not closing our damn plant without one hell of a fight.” Dias said to cheers from union members.

“Cause you see we’re sick and tired of General motors shipping all of our jobs to Mexico.”

Dias said the plant has won “every award” and was the best by “every matrix.”

“We are sick and tired of being pushed around. And we’re not going to be pushed around… we deserve respect,” he said.

GM is shutting down the plant in 2019, putting more than 2,500 employees out of work, as the automobile giant forges ahead with its global restructuring plan.

GM said it is taking steps to improve its “overall business performance” by reorganizing its global product development staff, realigning its manufacturing capacity and reducing the salaried workforce.

READ MORE: Timeline: GM Canada’s rise, fall, bailout and eventual departure from Oshawa

“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a media release.

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