Canadian autoworkers union “rowing in the same direction” as Ford and political establishment


Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford, Unifor President Jerry Dias and Ford Canada CEO Dean Stoneley appeared Thursday at a joint online press conference to announce a government investment of $590 million to retool Ford’s Oakville assembly plant beginning in 2024 for electric car and battery production. The federal and provincial governments will each contribute $295 million as part of an overall $1.8 billion plant conversion plan.

The press conference marked a new stage in the anti-worker, corporatist conspiracy between the trade unions, big business and the pro-corporate federal and provincial governments. This conspiracy is not simply the result of Dias’ contempt for autoworkers, though there is plenty of that to go around. It is the logical outcome of the unions’ reactionary Canadian nationalist and corporatist outlook, which claims that Canadian autoworkers and their bosses have the same interests, and that they must compete with their class brothers and sisters in the United States and Mexico for “investments” and “product.”

Unifor President Jerry Dias at a September 22 press conference. Dias and Unifor announced its deal with Ford Canada but refused to divulge any of its details

Dias could hardly contain his enthusiasm at the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds being handed over to the giant automaker free of charge and with virtually no strings attached. “We’re all rowing in the same direction,” he crowed at the event. The Unifor president also lavished praise on Trudeau and Ontario’s right-wing populist Premier Doug Ford, who until recently boasted about his affinity with and support for Donald Trump.

The “same direction” referred to by Dias is to ensure corporate Canada is given enough free public funds to remain “competitive” on the world market and thereby continue to attract investors. This requires that workers in the auto sector and all other areas of manufacturing be transformed into low-paid, precariously employed servants of big business. Ford will use the money it is receiving from both federal and provincial governments to continue its lavish payouts to its wealthy shareholders as it restructures its production facilities by expanding low-wage work, and guts employment standards and workers’ rights.

Dias remained silent on these restructuring plans at the press conference because he knows that they are viewed with hostility by autoworkers and broad sections of the working class as a whole.



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