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Major victory for Navistar workers

February 28, 2017

TORONTO –The long fight for severance money owed to workers at a closed Navistar plant in southwestern Ontario concluded this week with an arbitrated decision awarding all entitled workers their outstanding payments under the Employment Standards Act.

“This is a significant victory for these workers and their families,” said Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, which represents the workers. “It is simply appalling that a company as large as Navistar could be so heartless as to deny its long-serving and dedicated workers the money they are legally owed.”

“Navistar’s greed hurt many families for years as this fight continued. That is inexcusable. The union never gave up on helping its members, and today that dedication has paid off.”

Production at the Navistar plant in Chatham stopped in June 2009, with the company announcing the plant's permanent closure in July 2011. The company refused to pay its workers, members of Unifor Locals 35 and 127, the severance as required under Ontario law.

“There was never any question that Unifor would dedicate the resources needed to bring justice for these workers,” said Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Bob Orr. “This was a long fight that required the full support of the national union, and that support never wavered.”
The Employment Standards Act sets out clear requirements for when and how severance must be paid out, which this week’s ruling said must be followed.

“This arbitration shows that even when there are clear laws in place, only a union can ensure that workers’ rights are respected,” Dias said.

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For more information, contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at or 647-385-4054 (cell).