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

Just Posted

Parksville Qualicum Beach legions set to launch Poppy Campaign

Annual fundraiser to run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 11

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Thieves pilfer laptops, tools, big-screen TV, cash and more

Oceanside RCMP received 256 complaints between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.

Qualicum Bay writer Linda Tenney dies after battle with cancer

Celebration of life set for Nov. 2 at Lighthouse Community Centre

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Most Read