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Steelworkers and Magna: The Certification Vote Outcome

The Steelworkers’ attempt (see earlier posting)  to organize a Magna facility, Formet Industries in St. Thomas has failed in convincing fashion. The result of the vote was 717 against unionization and 292 for the union.   That number represents just a bit over 40%, so it’s hard to know if the Steelworkers lost much support between the application date (when it needed to have 40% support to get a vote), and the vote seven days later.

The CAW’s deal with Magna requires the Employer to aid the CAW in its organizing campaigns at Magna facilities by, among other things, giving the CAW organizers access to the workplaces to organize and requiring the employer to give its verbal support for the CAW. In exchange, the CAW has agreed not to strike and to enter into a collective agreement that incorporates much of Magna’s labour relations philosophies.  Other unions (such as the Steelworkers), do not have those entitlements because they are not party to the preferential agreement with Magna.

I am attempting to find out if Magna encouraged the employees to reject the Steelworkers and choose the CAW if they want a union.  (If you are an employee of Formet, or otherwise have information about Magna’s conduct during the campaign, please let me know).  

Note that this workplace is about to experience some serious layoffs.  Some workers might like to a union for protection when they feel vulnerable, although the majority of these employees obviously did not feel the union could help them.   Do you think that a union can be useful to workers when the employer is facing a serious economic downturn?


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