Justice Salmers issued his decision in the G.M. injunction on June 13th. Here it is. It’s an interesting decision. Ultimately, G.M. gets its injunction, because the court believed the company and the community would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ without it. But the CAW can take some solace in the fact that the judge was clearly disgusted with G.M.’s conduct, calling it ‘almost deceitful’, and finding that G.M. did not ‘have clean hands’. Salmers also makes some factual findings that will be key in an unfair labour practice complaint and arbitration hearing. For example, he finds:
- G.M. knew for some time before June 1st that ‘the Oshawa truck plant closure announcement was imminent’, yet it elected not to engage in ‘advance discussion’ with the CAW before its June 3rd announcement of the closure, in clear contravention of the requirement in the Collective Agreement for that to occur.
- That G.M. executives in Detroit knew, or were aware of the possibility of the Oshawa plant closing during the collective bargaining, that the CAW had clearly raised this as a crucial issue in bargaining, and that they let the GM negotiators in Canada agree to the ‘advance discussion’ provisions.
it must be remembered that picketing is a vital and constitutionally sanctioned means of collective expression in modern labour relations. Picketing speaks not just to the issues in dispute, but to the solidarity of the employees involved. In this respect, the number of picketers is itself an important part of that expression.
The CAW might have grounds to appeal that restriction if it wanted to continue large scale, but non-obstructive, peaceful demonstrations.