Unifor’s actions against GM were unlawful, board rules

Labour board says union members held unlawful strikes in protests of planned closure of Oshawa plant

Workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant park their cars to block the entrance on Monday Nov 26, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima)

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled that members of Unifor engaged in unlawful strikes in their efforts to protest the planned closure of the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.

The ruling, dated Feb. 22 and posted by Unifor late Monday, orders the union and its members including president Jerry Dias to cease and desist from engaging in, authorizing or counselling unlawful strikes.

READ MORE: GM to close Oshawa plant, four U.S. plants in massive reorganization

General Motors Canada asked the board earlier in February to stop “any further illegal activities” after several job actions by Unifor members following the news that the Oshawa plant would close later this year.

The company said Tuesday it supports the ruling but declined to comment further. Unifor declined comment.

The union argued in its filing to the board that it hadn’t violated the law and that the cited incidents were discrete and resolved quickly.

GM’s allegations focused on several incidents where union members halted work or engaged in demonstrations, including on Nov. 26 when the company announced the closure and on Jan. 9 when it confirmed it wouldn’t reconsider its decision.

The board’s order raises the stakes in the ongoing labour dispute because GM can file it in courts to make the decision effectively a court decision, said David Doorey, a professor of labour law at York University.

“The effect of that is that future illegal strikes could be treated as a contempt of court, which could lead to fines or even imprisonment, although that is rare nowadays,” he said by email.

In issuing the cease and desist order, the board recognized the possibility of more strikes ahead in the ongoing protest against GM, said Doorey.

He said Unifor engaged in civil disobedience to fight back, noting that workers have a long history of pushing against legal rules that seek to restrain worker militancy.

Unifor has been fighting against the closure of the plant, slated for the end of the year, that would put 2,600 unionized workers at the operation out of a job. The union has also said thousands more workers in parts plants and other indirect jobs at other locations that could be hit by the closure.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQB News editor battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Port Alberni man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car stopped, impounded after driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Oceanside Generals back on winning path

Gens score tough VIJHL home wins vs Buccaneers, Glacier Kings

Residents speak out against proposed Parksville affordable housing development

Environment a primary concern; land is largely on a 200-year-old floodplain away from city centre

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

Rainfall warning issued for east Vancouver Island

Warning issued for area from Nanoose Bay to Campbell River

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Most Read