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Feeder plant workers walk off job in search of agreements


Unifor members stand on the Albert Street bridge looking over Highway 401. The union held several protests in support of workers at GM supplier plants in Oshawa Thursday. (Photo by Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Unifor and local feeder plant workers were out in full force at two locations in Oshawa Thursday.
Local feeder plant workers for the GM plant have been pushing to reach agreements with their companies similar to what GM employees were offered.
Workers, who walked out from Syncreon Automotive and CEVA Logistics, were protesting outside of the GM plant on Stevenson Road in the morning.
They were joined by fellow Unifor members.
They later congregated at the Albert Street bridge, over Highway 401, in the afternoon, displaying a large banner from the bridge.
David Soltis, union rep for Syncreon Automotive, not much progress has been made with any of the companies, which also include Lear and Inteva.
“We’ve had talks for the last three to four months,” he says. “I know not many of the feeder plants are making much progress in those talks.”
Soltis says the employees walked out in “rebellion.”
“I just think the companies need to know that we’ve worked hard for them… we’ve put 100 per cent in there every day, and we deserve something in order to transition into our new jobs. We need that money to help us get there,” he says.
Soltis explains they are looking for three or four weeks per year of severance, and funding to develop a job action centre to help workers find future employment.
Mike Shields, former president of Unifor Local 222, came out to support workers as well.
“I’m retired now, but I heard on social media that some of the supplier plants had walked out,” Shield says. “So I got out of my pool and I decided to come down and support them because this is the kind of action that’s going to be necessary for the part suppliers and Unifor to get the attention they need, and to get the agreement they need.”
He adds the feeder plant workers need “some kind of severance.”
“Not only are they losing their jobs… but they’re going out into the market place with the biggest competition because all these other GM workers, or all these other part supply workers are going to be aiming for the same jobs, so they need some help,” says Shields.
He says the workers feel forgotten and that they are an “afterthought.”