Unifor has asked Stellantis to pause its rollout of a vaccine mandate that would require all employees, contractors and visitors be inoculated before entering any of the automaker’s Canadian facilities.
Stellantis vaccine mandate in Canada should be paused, Unifor says
The union didn't say whether it took issue with similar policies at General Motors and Ford
Unifor Local 1285, which represents workers at the automaker’s Brampton Assembly Plant, said in a letter to its members that it held “high level discussions” with Stellantis executives on Oct. 21.
The union says it “made it very clear that we are pro-vaccination and acknowledge the fact most of our members are fully vaccinated.”
The union also says it “expressed other options for the company to explore before possible termination for those who are struggling with the decision to be vaccinated.”
“Based on these reasons, and discussions during [the] meeting, the union asked the company to pause the roll out [sic] of the policy until such specifics can be worked out that are reasonable.”
Stellantis declined to comment. The company only confirmed that “we received a letter” from Unifor on Oct. 22.
“We are not commenting on the contents,” the company told Automotive News Canada.
Meanwhile, Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy on Oct. 22 also took issue with the policy.
“We support the idea of a vaccine however we support the fact that people should have a choice,” Cassidy said on the chapter’s official Twitter page. “We have stressed to the employer that nobody should be fired for a policy that they implemented with NO discussion with the union.”
Later that evening, Cassidy took to Facebook to also call for a "pause" in the rollout.
All of the Detroit Three automakers on Oct. 14 outlined their vaccine mandates. Stellantis will require proof of vaccination beginning Dec. 17 while GM will require proof starting Dec. 12. Ford’s policy goes into effect Jan. 3, 2022.
Unifor didn’t say whether it took issue with the policy at the other automakers and didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Unifor President Jerry Dias fully supports vaccine mandates.
Dias previously said the union wasn’t consulted on the automakers’ policies, but he’s not bothered by that. He quoted Unifor lawyers as saying that companies imposing mandatory vaccine policies are within their right to do so. Dias said unvaccinated employees “may be putting their jobs at risk.”
“If they in fact refuse, and they are terminated, an arbitrator may very well uphold the termination,” Dias told Automotive News Canada on Oct. 14. “Workers need to know that.”