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The G.M. Injunction

Here’s yet another story about the G.M. events, this time involving G.M.’s attempt to obtain an injunction to stop the CAW members and supporters from picketing outside the company’s head offices and damages amounting to $1.5 million.  Picketing and peaceful protest is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as the Supreme Court confirmed recently in two cases, K-Mart Canada and Pepsi-Cola Canada.  But the Court also made clear that the picketing and protest cannot be done in a manner that amounts to a tort.   I have not seen G.M.’s pleadings (although I am trying to get them), so I don’t know what tort G.M. alleged.  Presumably, though, given the numbers of picketers and G.M.’s allegation that they are preventing G.M. employees from entering the workplace, the claims likely allege nuisance, obstruction, or intimidation. 

Union members cannot physically obstruct or prevent people from entering workplaces.  Watch the news today to see how the Court decides the case.  Usually, if a tort is found (and sometimes even when one is not found!), courts will impose controls on the picketing in terms of the time that cars can be stopped.  What do you think of G.M.’s claim for damages?  The car/truck assembly plants have not been affected, so the damages must relate to the difficulty office workers are having getting to their workstations.  It is relatively rare for courts to order damages against unions, and in Ontario, unions do not even exist as legal persons because of the Rights of Labour Act,  s. 3.2. so they cannot be sued.  G.M. must have named individual union members or leaders personally, but (again) I haven’t seen the pleadings to I’m not sure about that.  I’ll update this post if I can get the pleadings. 

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One Response to The G.M. Injunction

  1. Kevin W Reply

    July 31, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Regarding the recently requested injunction against the CAW to stop the blockade or picketing at General Motors head office, GM has resolved the issue with the CAW and its employees through the internal grievance process mechanism.

    Since the CAW had taken this issue to a forth step grievance, it was directed to the labor board for review concerning GM’s “Dirty Hands” in the injunction process.

    GM has offer significant packages to its hourly forces amounting to a staggering figure in the range of $800,000.00 dollars which the CAW has accepted and a part of the settlement, GM agreed to drop the $1.5 Million Lawsuit if the CAW withdrew its legal claim of GM negotiating in bad faith, which started the process.

    This is a huge out of court settlement.

    However, what’s been missed by all is the fact GM’s has market demand and they are using the issue to move its work from Oshawa and Pontiac to their Mexcian plants to produce even higher profits. Sad but true.

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