Windsor judge orders Unifor to remove barricades at Nemak
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 4:24PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 6, 2019 6:11PM EDT
A Windsor judge has ordered Unifor workers to remove the barricades at the Nemak plant.
Unifor started the protest on Sept. 2 in response to Nemak's decision to close the plant in June 2020, putting 270 employees out of work, as the company moves the work to Mexico.
Unifor Local 200 president John D’Agnolo confirms to CTV News the union has received the court documentation, outlining the injunction which orders the removal of the barricade at Nemak.
However, instead of clearing the area and allowing the company access to the facility, D’Agnolo says the union has sent a rebuttal through its lawyer and is awaiting a reply.
Until a response comes, members are continuing to block the entrances to the factory to back their core demand — that the current collective agreement is honoured through to its end date in 2022.
On Wednesday, an Ontario Labour Relations Board called the blockade an unlawful strike and issued a cease and desist order that was ignored by Unifor.
David Sundin, a lawyer for Nemak, says the blockade is "a blatant act of defiance and disregard for the rule of law."
Sundin says they used various media reports from union leaders saying they will not follow the order by the OLRB to go back to work.
Justice Terry Patterson agreed with Nemak lawyers on Thursday and issued an interim injunction against Unifor stating that "access to the Nemak Canada Corporation facilities… not be impeded in any way, by any person."
It means the union must remove the three barricades and go back to work effective immediately.
Windsor police have previously told Nemak they won’t be of any assistance until this court order. Police have now been advised by the court ruling, but the protest continued Thursday night.
"This cause is about the workers here at Nemak and their livelihoods are on the line," said D'Agnolo.
Nemak had originally hoped to resume production at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
The Mexican-owned aluminum casting plant builds engine blocks for General Motors.
Nemak says it "will continue taking all the necessary legal steps to re-start production and maintains its call to employees for constructive, beneficial dialogue to jointly reach the most favorable transition plan for employees."
Next Tuesday, both sides will argue contempt charges, which the judge says are very serious allegations.