Judges have a real genius for understatement. Justice Salmers avers that GM was ''almost deceitful". I think that Buzz Hargrove would leave out the "almost" and substitute a few swearwords. Buzz would be more accurate!
GM was 'almost deceitful': judge
Union blockade allowed to continue over weekend, then must be pared back
June 14, 2008
An Ontario Superior Court judge has chastised General Motors Corp. for announcing the shutdown of a truck plant in Oshawa, Ont., two weeks after signing a new contract with the Canadian Auto Workers that contained commitments that the plant would be kept open.
Mr. Justice David Salmers granted an injunction yesterday ordering the union to end a blockade of the company's Canadian head office and limit its pickets to 20 people, but said the auto maker "should not be rewarded for improper conduct."
So instead of ordering an immediate end to the protest, Judge Salmers will allow it to continue this weekend before restricting the union to 20 pickets beginning at 7 a.m., Monday.
The union began blockading the General Motors of Canada Ltd. headquarters in Oshawa one day after its parent, GM Corp., announced that it will cease production of pickup trucks in Oshawa next year.
That announcement on June 3 was castigated by union officials as a "betrayal" because it came so quickly after GM Canada signed a new contract with the CAW that committed the company to building the next generation of its pickups in Oshawa in 2011.
Officials at GM's head office in Detroit would have known that the plant was in danger of being closed, Judge Salmers wrote.
"Knowing the dire straits of the truck market, for some time before June 1, 2008, these sophisticated business people would have considered the possibility that the Oshawa truck plant might have to be closed," he wrote.
Two clauses in the new contract between the two parties called for the company to give notice to the union and have discussions before making major changes in production at any of GM's Canadian plants.
The judge found that GM ignored those clauses.
"I find that GM Corp. engaged in almost deceitful business practice by allowing GM Canada's lead negotiators to agree to the advance notice and discussion clauses in the May 15, 2008, agreement at a time when the truck business was in dire straits and when GM Corp. should have been at least aware of the possibility that plants, possibly including the Oshawa truck plant, might have to be closed," he wrote.
He also wrote that a party such as GM seeking relief from the court should possess so-called "clean hands," which means its own actions should not have created the situation it is trying to resolve.
"I find without hesitation that GM Canada does not come to court with clean hands," he ruled.