Contempt motion against Unifor on hold in Nemak issue

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

A judge has given Nemak and Unifor until Friday at 2pm to meet to resolve their differences in the ongoing blockade drama.

Justice Terrence Patterson adjourned a contempt ruling against Unifor during a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Windsor. However, an injunction remains in effect. In court, Patterson said he did not believe finding Unifor and its members in contempt would help either side resolve their problems.

Nemak’s lawyer David Sundin was looking for the judge to rule on the contempt motion and fine individuals like Unifor Local 200 President John D’Agnolo $2,000 a day and fine the union as a whole $25,000 a day.

After the court proceedings, D’Agnolo said the union is willing and ready to talk and go back to work.

“We are ready to go right away,” said D’Agnolo. “I don’t know what other signs they need but we need to sit down and get this hashed out as soon as possible so that we can start working and produce vehicles.”

While Patterson decided to adjourn the order of contempt he made it clear throughout the court proceedings that contempt of court is a very serious offense and he will issue penalties accordingly.

“As the judge says eventually you have to deal with contempt and at that time he has to deal with it. But right now I’m focused on getting the people back to work. That’s all they want. They want to get back to work,” said D’Agnolo.

Unifor members set up a blockade at the Nemak plant on September 2 after the company announced it would be closing the plant and moving its operations to Mexico. The two sides appeared before the Ontario Labour Relations Board on September 4, 2019. The OLRB concluded the action was illegal and the employees should return to work. Judge Patterson made a similar ruling on September 5, 2019. Both rulings were ignored.