UAW will support Unifor in talks with GM in Canada: UAW president

Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:58pm EDT
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By Bernie Woodall and Allison Lampert

DETROIT (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said on Monday the U.S. union will support Canada's unionized auto workers during contract talks with General Motors Co but declined to say whether the UAW would refuse work at GM plants in the event of a Canadian strike.

Williams said in an interview he believes GM and Jerry Dias, president of the Canadian union Unifor, will “come to a conclusion that’s best for all parties” and hopes they can reach a new four-year contract without a strike.

Dias and Unifor have threatened the strike of about 4,000 workers at GM plants in Ontario unless a new four-year contract is reached by Sept. 19.

“The UAW is going to support the Canadian auto workers," said Williams. Williams met with Dias on Sunday.

A strike would have ripple effects at U.S. plants, particularly if Unifor workers walk off their jobs at an engine and transmission plant in St Catharines.

Williams would not comment on whether the UAW would refuse extra work to make up for lost output if Unifor's GM workers strike at two Ontario plants.

“I don’t want to comment on that because I don’t know what it will bring us, but we’ll do whatever we can to help (Unifor) in any way we can," Williams said.

If GM asks for extra work at the UAW's plants, "we’ll have discussions with General Motors and tell them how dissatisfied we are."   Continued...

United Auto Workers Union President Dennis Williams listens to a question from the media during a press event officially beginning 2015 contract negotiations between General Motors and the UAW at the UAW-GM Center Human Resources in Detroit, Michigan July 13, 2015.  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook