Unifor Local 707 President to the Windsor Star;
Sisters and Brothers
We have been busy at the bargaining table fighting for a fair and equitable agreement for Unifor members working at Ford Motor Company. It’s unfortunate that during this time the Windsor Star has published a cartoon depicting disagreement with Unifor Ford Locals meant to divide workers rather than unite us in Solidarity.
I felt it important to share my response to the Windsor Star cartoon with you the membership.
Local 707 Presidents Letter to the Windsor Star
As the President of Unifor Local 707, Ford Oakville I found the cartoon in your Thursday edition of the Windsor Star a disgusting and degrading insult to all Unifor local 707 and Unifor local 200 workers. As I realize it is the profession of the newspaper to report relevant and interesting stories that the general public deserves to read I do not think it is the occupation of the media to depict lies to the masses.
The cartoon depicting a barbaric conflict between Local 707 and Local 200 members is the farthest thing from reality. Our main focus is not only to secure new product for Windsor but also bargain a fair and equitable agreement for the working men and women of the Ford chain. Windsor consisting of a very strong labor base I would have expected the local newspaper would be more supportive of their community fight to secure future product and investment rather than initiate grossly exaggerated infatuations.
I am demanding a retraction and a formal apology to our members by the editor of your paper and would appreciate you deviate from any similar kind of slanderous behavior.
President Unifor 707
Unifor Local 707 Bargaining Update #2 October 13 2016 - Message from the President
<h2>Brothers and Sisters:</h2>
As always I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support you have shown the Bargaining Committee these past few weeks. The mass amounts of emails and text messages received have certainly not gone unnoticed. The issues we have been dealing with are quite trying but knowing our membership is behind us certainly makes everything easier.
When we entered into 2016 bargaining our commitment as a bargaining team was to be as transparent as possible to our membership. <strong>We were elected to bargain a mandate set by you and we will do our best to deliver on that mandate.</strong> I’m sure by now most of you have had a chance to read the leaflet I put out on behalf of the local Bargaining team acknowledging our feelings about the framework agreement GM set for the pattern moving forward. The statement I made was that the framework set by GM does NOT suit the needs of our members in Oakville. <strong>Our position has NOT changed.</strong>
By now I’m sure everyone has heard that Unifor has come to a tentative agreement with FCA. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">At the time of writing this letter we are not privy to the details of what the agreement entails. Stay tuned information will be released as soon as we receive it.</span>
There have been numerous amounts of media releases in the papers these last few weeks attacking not only my credibility but also the credibility of the rest of the local bargaining committee. It was never our intention to negotiate any kind of an agreement in the media but I feel I must respond to set the record straight. The product bargained for Oakville was done in 2009 not 2012. The focus in 2012 bargaining was to give all laid off members from other locals recall opportunities. It was also reported that the 10 year grow for new members was bargained by 707 when in fact the 10 year grow in was negotiated by all of the Detroit 3 leadership. It was only Oakville that was hiring new members at the time. As I said we as a bargaining team will not get sucked into the media frenzy surrounding bargaining, but true to my commitment will keep our membership abreast of all pertinent information.
In 2009 the UAW and CAW were asked to re-enter into bargaining to help Ford Motor Company survive the financial crisis. Everyone should remember the UAW refused but the CAW decided it best to try and help the company get through their troubling times. GM and FCA took financial bailouts from the government at that time. Ford through the help of its employees did not need financial aid to weather the storm. The sacrifices from the membership were a major contributing factor in returning Ford to the strong economic prosperity they enjoy today. The company has rewarded its management team with substantial raises and bonuses. We are only asking for a reflection of the hard work and dedication that our members deserve. We are only looking for a fair share.
The Bargaining team will be heading into Toronto this coming Sunday the 16th to commence bargaining with Ford Motor Company. I do not need to outline the challenges that lay ahead. Again when we entered into 2016 bargaining the main focus for Unifor was investment, but these were not our only demands. Our other efforts are based around much deserved gains. <strong>Our position has been very clear Ford Motor Company owes Windsor an investment but at the same time they owe all members a fair and equitable contract. “We know they can afford it”.</strong>
See you all at the union meeting this Sunday.
Unifor Local 707
<a href="http://www.uniforlocal707.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Bargaining-Update-2-October-13-2016.pdf">Download PDF</a>
Local 707 Bargaining Update October 1 2016 ~ Message from the President
Sisters and Brothers:
I would like to start by thanking everyone for their overwhelming support you the membership have shown the local bargaining committee. We have received fantastic support from all members not only active but retired as well.
I'm sure by now everyone has had an opportunity to digest the GM framework that was ratified last week by our brothers and sisters at General Motors. The members at GM were in a very difficult position especially in Oshawa with no future investment planned for that sight. GM's leadership had some very difficult decisions to make and they believe they did what was best for their members.
When bargaining began back in August we as a local bargaining committee were given a very clear mandate as to what the members of local 707 were expecting. We have stayed the course and have not deviated from that mandate. We as a local bargaining committee have sent a very clear message to Ford Motor Company and the National Union that the framework agreement between GM and the membership will NOT suit the needs of the membership in Oakville.
Investment in Canada was the number 1 priority when we opened up bargaining but we all agreed that it would not be at the expense of the rest of the membership.
We as a local bargaining committee will NOT sacrifice the needs of the membership in Oakville and settle on an agreement that doesn't address our issues.
I spent several days in the plant the last few weeks and have had many discussions with our members. There seems to be some confusion as to how the bargaining process moves forward. The ONLY way we as a bargaining team will vote to ratify a collective agreement is if we the leadership think the agreement suits the needs of our members. Some people are saying we will just vote no and send the bargaining team back to the table, be assured once an agreement is reached if it is not ratified by the membership we will be on strike. I am NOT prepared to present an agreement to the membership that won't be ratified. We were elected by you the membership to deliver a mandate and as I stated earlier we will not deviate from that position.
We are going to have a very difficult fight ahead of us as we enter into bargaining with Ford later this month. We have a very strong and determined local bargaining committee and I am confident with the strength and solidarity of the active and retired membership we will come to an agreement that addresses everyone's needs.
President Unifor Local 707
<a href="http://www.uniforlocal707.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Bargaining-Update-October-1-2016.pdf">Download PDF</a>
Presidents Message ~ GM Selection
Sisters and Brothers.
I am sure by now everyone has heard the news that our National President Jerry Dias has selected General Motors as the target company moving forward in 2016 bargaining.
We as a local bargaining committee along with Ford Council have been lobbying relentlessly over the past couple of weeks to be the lead in this round of talks. Unfortunately National President Jerry Dias has chosen GM as the target. While we are disappointed that Ford was not chosen as the target company we put our full support behind the GM master and Local bargaining committees.
We are confident GM leadership will set a pattern that suits the needs of all of the Detroit 3 membership. After GM comes to an agreement and it is ratified Brother Dias will announce who the next target will be. I will keep you abreast of everything as bargaining moves forward. Once again I cannot say enough about the support and solidarity the membership of Local 707 has shown us. United we will reach our goals
President Unifor Local 707
Local 707 Presidents Message - Strike Mandate Vote Aug. 28th 9am-12pm
Brothers and Sisters
I’m sure everyone is aware that this Sunday August the 28th we have our strike mandate vote scheduled at our local union hall. The polls will open at 9:00 a.m. and remain open until 12:00 p.m. At 10:00 a.m. I will give a short update as to the status of how bargaining is progressing followed by a question and answer period. We as a bargaining team have been fighting diligently on the memberships behalf. We know what’s important to the membership and are doing our best to solidify these gains.
It is NOT necessary for the membership to stay for the discussion part of the meeting. I understand everyone’s lives are quite busy and Sundays are usually kept for well-deserved family time but please try and make an effort to at least come and vote. A strong strike mandate sends a clear message to the company that the bargaining teams have the full support of the membership and are willing to take strike action if the two sides cannot come to a settlement that is fair and lucrative for our members. Nothing would send a stronger message than 100% turnout and 100% yes vote for the mandate.
My last update I talked about the issue of repairs being done at an off-site location in Portland Oregon. There were approximately 10,000 units shipped with China as a destination. As was the case in Milton some repairs were being performed. We have had a high level meeting with Ford Motor Company and the National Union. We as a bargaining team are confident this issue will be resolved.
Again I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday at the strike mandate vote.
President Unifor Local 707
Presidents Message - Strike Mandate Vote
I thought this would be a good time to update the membership on the logistics of the collective bargaining process as we draw closer to opening talks.
As stated in previous messages your local bargaining team opened talks in late June with some preliminary discussions. Most of the first week we met with the company, we were exchanging amendments and clarification of all articles. We met again with the company on a local level during the week of July 25th 2016. Our goal was to make headway with the company on several key local issues before we entered into master bargaining.
On August 8th 2016 we moved our sites onto the master agreement. Your Bargaining Committee is in Toronto for several weeks of talks leading up to the selection of the target company. President Jerry Dias usually waits until the Labor Day Weekend in September to officially announce who the target company will be. We as a bargaining team have been lobbying quite extensively to choose Ford Motor Company as the target. We feel it more beneficial to be the leader in bargaining rather than follow the other companies. When the target company is picked all efforts will be made to come to an agreement prior to the strike deadline. If no agreement is reached Brother Dias has said we will not negotiate after the strike deadline which means if Ford is the target company we the members of Local 707, Local 200, Local 584, Local 1324 and Local 240 will be in a legal strike position and we will exercise our right.
Presidents Report April - June 2016
Sisters and Brothers.
So much has been happening these last few months I’m not quite sure where to begin. I would like to start by telling everyone how proud I am to be a member of Unifor Local 707. I know everyone was well aware of the tragedies that took place in Fort McMurray. I tried to get as much information on the web page and phone app as possible during the crisis but this is my first chance to really pay heed to the events. Local 707 came together and raised $11,200 in support of the relief effort to help our neighbors from the west. As I said on the app we have a sister Local in Fort McMurray Local 707A. I contacted our Community Services Chair Steve Gardiner on the Monday and asked him if we could organize a collection on short notice. Steve took the reins and along with his committee did a fantastic job organizing a hugely successful collection in a matter of 3 days. Job well done guys! I also wanted to commend some of our retirees who volunteered their time to come out and help with the collection. I think their involvement was a great show of solidarity and support towards the Local. Again job well done by all.
Read My Full report here - President Dave Thomas Report April - June 2016
Unifor Local 707 Membership Solidarity Rally
Brothers and Sisters
WOW what a show of solidarity! I can't tell you how proud I was today to be the President of Local 707. I have not seen a show of strength and unity like that in a long long time. I must apologize to the B-shift for not having the megaphone with me. I think the leadership was taken aback by the number of people that rallied today at Bloor Street. We were expecting some good numbers but due to the short time frame we had to organize this rally we were not sure how many people had received the message.
PRESIDENTS UPDATE #2 OFF-SITE MILTON Work ~ March 31 2016
Sisters and Brothers.
I have been trying to communicate as much information as possible to the membership regarding the recent struggles we have been experiencing pertaining to the off site inspection area. In my first communication I reported to the membership the recognition of an offsite inspection/repair area for export units that was established in Milton. We as a local union had no discussions pertaining to this off site endeavour. As said before we immediately told the company this was our locals work and this off site operation needed to stop immediately. At first we were told no worries it’s all warranty issues, then we were told it’s a beautification detail we are doing and now they are telling us it’s port authority inspection being done. We immediately asked for clarification, what does pre port inspection mean? Before a vehicle can be exported overseas the port authority does their own inspection of vehicles to make sure no damage has occurred from the plant to the port of export. Last time I checked there is no port of export in Milton.
PRESIDENTS UPDATE ~ OFF-SITE MILTON WORK
Brothers and Sisters
I wanted to give everyone an update on the offsite repair issue going on in Milton. The Company has made their position very clear and they think this work does not belong to the local union.
As I stated in my first letter this off site Center was never discussed with the local union; what a total lack of respect.
The b-shift reps and I went to Manheim this morning and we have shut the operation down.
Unifor Local 707 President's Report March 2016
Sister and Brothers.
Since this is my first report since returning from the Christmas holidays I would like to take a second to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope everyone got some well-deserved rest as it was much needed. Most members put in a substantial amount of days and hours of work last year so anytime we get a chance for holidays or some time off we need to take advantage of every opportunity we get.
Everyone that has attended a meeting or read my reports the last couple of months has heard me talk about the importance of Canadian’s venturing into the Trans Pacific Partnership or (TPP). This new trade agreement has the potential to jeopardize some 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Canada. As we know, it was the Conservative government that initiated into this agreement and left this pile of rubble for the Liberals to try and salvage something out of this mess. John Oliver was elected as the MP for Oakville and he has been lobbying strongly to either veto or alter the pact the way it currently reads. Mr. Oliver contacted me in late January and asked if I would be willing to put together a round table of union members who would be willing to meet with the Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland.
Unifor Local 707 launches mobile app to build Membership Solidarity
Brothers and Sisters
Since elected we have built a new Unifor Local 707 website and now I am happy to say we are launching the new App for everyone’s mobile devices. This will put information at your fingertips. I cannot think of a better time to launch this app moving forward into 2016 bargaining. This will be a fantastic tool to relay information to our members. I will do my best to keep you updated and informed of events happening within the local union. The App is a free download, notices are posted on the boards in the plant and a message has been posted on the Unifor Local 707 website as well. Please feel free to send me any feedback or any thoughts you might have moving forward.
I would like to thank Billy O’Neill for the time and effort in making this project a reality.
President Unifor Local 707
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