Judge orders union to remove blockade at Nemak

Jerry Dias speaks to the crowd at the Nemak Plant in Windsor on September 2, 2019. (Photo by Allanah Wills)

A Windsor judge has ordered Nemak employees to cease a blockade at the local facility, but the union still won’t budge.

A day after the Ontario Labour Relations Board ordered members of Unifor Local 200, which represents Nemak employees in Windsor, to end their blockade and return to work, Nemak filed an injunction request in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Justice Terrence Patterson ordered the union to comply with the OLRB request.

In a statement issued by the company, Unifor is ordered not to impede access to the Windsor facility. The company said it is taking steps to ensure production there is resumed.

“Nemak 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 favourable transition plan for employees,” company said in the statement.

The company had ordered the facility to resume production at 11 p.m. Wednesday, but the plant did not reopen.

A total of 270 employees walked off the job on Monday to protest Nemak’s plan to close the Windsor facility by next summer. Nemak said the decision was made due to the early phase-out of an export program with a customer in China, which is expected to bring capacity utilization at the Windsor plant down to less than 10 per cent by next year.

Unifor members, however, felt betrayed by the decision and have vowed not to return to work until Nemak reconsiders it. Employees were particularly upset over word that Nemak planned to move production of a Fiat-Chrysler engine to Mexico instead of Windsor.

Local 200 President John D’Agnolo told BlackburnNewsWindsor.com on Wednesday that they will be out for as long as it takes.

“They want to move to Mexico and we can’t allow that to happen,” said D’Agnolo. “These are a lot of families affected by this and I could not allow that to happen.”

-With files from Paul Pedro and Kirk Dickinson