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CAW Local 676

CAW Local 676
History of CAW Local 676
Workers at Hayes-Steel first joined the U.A.W. in 1938 and became a unit of Local 199. In time there was some dissatisfaction with regard to a Unit the size of Hayes-Steel and the unit of McKinnon Industries, as G.M. was known in those days, and it was decided by membership action to apply with the international union for a seperate charter in July of 1939. This was granted and Local 676 U.A.W. Merritton, Ontario came into existence. This makes us the fourth Local in C.A.W. History.

During the war years, Hayes-Steel was a supplier to the Federal Government for the war effort and had over 1,350 workers. For the first time women played an important role in the factory, in fact probably half of those working were women. However the union did not progrssively grow during these years.

One of our first agreements provided that only George Burt, Canadian Director, would be allowed into negotiations as an outsider. Durring the war years there was wage and price controls although settlements were submitted and approved by The Price and Wge Stabization Board Ottawa. Durring these years it was a 48-hour work week, three shifts, 6 eight-hour shifts per week. However there was usually a 7-day operation for the war effort.

After the war was over most of the women were laid off because they had seperate seniority lists. A common practice back then.

In 1946 the production operators wage was 59 cents per hour. The Union was still very weak with Stewards collecting Union dues of $1.00 per month. One of the major problems was that there was no check-off of Union dues (Rand Formula) and no maditory joining of the Union. If an individual was dissatisfied with perhaps the way a greviance was settled, or the way an election went, he just refused to pay.

In 1948 Cy Cheevers was President of Local 676, Llyod Little was Plantchair. That year there was a strike at McKinnon Industries (now G.M.) Local 199 and there was great co-operation between our Locals. Local 676 membership voluntarily donated $1.00 per member towards 199's strike.

In 1951, two two important events took place. The first was the Die Sinkers made application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to form their own Die Sinkers Conference Union. When the Board turned down this application, all the Die Sinkers gave the company and union an ultimatum that unless they recived an immediate 10 cents per hour increase, they would all quit! The Unions position was that if the Collective Agreement was to be opened it would be for everyone not one exclusive group. After numerous meetings the deadline arrived and all the Die Sinkers walked out. This created a major problem for Hayes-Steel as there was a complete shortage of Die Sinkers in Niagara.

The second event in 1951 was our Locals backing for the formation of a Credit Union. The Union sponsored this Credit Union and in order to obtain pay-roll deductions we agreed that our charter would include non-union employees as well.

In 1952 Bill Marhall was elected Full-Time Buisness Agent and our new agreement contained a provision of Rand Formula Union Dues Deduction. This meant all members had to pay union due, equivelent monies, but did not have to belong to the union. At that time th two plants were the Forge Shop and the Machining Division which were both in Merritton.

In 1955 G.M. had a National strike that lasted over 6 months while Local 676 was in negotiations. So as not to undercut their negotiations, the Union held off settling our agreement. Once again Local 676 came to the support of our Brothers and Sisters at Local 199 when we agreed to double our union dues for the duration of their strike. When their strike ended Local 676 negotiated a 3-year agreement that established pattern bargaining.

In 1957 Hayes-Steel had over 1,000 workers but a slowdown in the industry created a massive layoff. A number of lines had been moved up to the new Thorold plant. This plant had been bought after the war but never fully utilized. This is the "Mothership" or Drivetrain today.

In 1958 so many members were signed up to the Union that it was decided to demand that the company provided a dues check off procedure. In 1959 the Bargaining Committee agreed that they would put this to a vote. If everyone wanted their Union dues deducted once per month from their pay on a duesrevocable basis. Campainging was heavy and resulted in a majority agreement. This meant that that an individual, once he paid union dues, had to remain in the Union and have due deducted until 2 months preceding the next agreement, thus securing the Unions place.

For approxamently 3 years employment at Hayes was between 400-600 workers. In the early 60's it was apparent that the auto tariff between Canada and U.S. was to the disadvantage of Canada anf Local 676 U.A.W. took a leading role in getting its members to agitate and write their M.P.s for a better deal for auto.

In 1965 the Canada U.S. Auto Tarriff Trade Pact was established and it heraled additional work for Hayes. The Dana Corperation, from Toledo, Ohio invested considerably more money into Hayes and aquired 66% of Hayes-Steel stock.

In 1966 the sod was turned and construction started on the Hayes-Steel Thorold Frame Plant with guarenteed orders from General Motors. An interm Agreement was reached between the company and Local 676 to include the Frame Plant in the current Collective Agreement. The position was taken that an interm agreement was safer and that it would give the senior workers from the other 2 plants bumping rights to the new plant if they were laid off.

MORE TO COME SOON!!..............
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Last Updated: May 24, 2006 6:16:28 PM