Unifor Local 199 first received its charter from UAW-CIO in December 1936 through the efforts of John K. Smith, George Campbell and Charles Williamson. These men organized the work force at McKinnon Industries, a subsidiary of General Motors in St. Catharines, Ont. The union membership totaled approximately 100 workers. Local 199 was one of the first Canadian groups to be included in the U.S. based United Autoworkers Union. In time the membership grew to over 1,000 by the time of the strike in 1948. By 1953 membership increased four fold to over 4,000. In 1940 workers at Anthes Imperial, Welland Vale Works and Shurly Works of the Welland Vale Manufacturing Co. joined the Local. Lincoln Foundry joined in 1951, Skillcraft Products in 1956 and Genaire in 1958.

From its inception, Local 199 was involved in the local communities it represented. In the 1950s they supported civil defense programs and in 1949 formed its very own Credit Union focusing on financial benefits for its members.

Other causes endorsed and supported by the Local included women’s rights, environment, human rights, and rights for the LGBT community. Local 199 supported recreational and sporting activities for its members and their families. Bowling, softball and hockey were some of the earliest activities. The Merry Macks, the women’s softball team, was one of the highest achieving sports teams. Men and women were equally encouraged and welcomed on various union supported teams.

In 1985 the Canadian units of the UAW broke away from their parent organization to form the new Canadian Autoworkers Union. The CAW had long struggled under US contract negotiations and felt it required a Canadian solution to negotiated settlements. On August 31, 2013 the Canadian Autoworkers Union and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) amalgamated to form Unifor, combining two of Canada’s largest unions. Unifor Local 199 and 523 united in February 2017. Local 523 largely represented workers in Welland, Ontario.

Click here to view the Unifor Local 199 Fonds finding aid

Recent Submissions

  • Photograph - Local 199 UAW Meeting, 29 October 1983

    A photograph of a panel of participants at a Local 199 UAW meeting in St. Catharines, Ontario. The poster behind the speaker reads "Local 199 Quality of Work Life. What does it mean to you?". There are five people shown seated at the panel table and one speaker at the podium.
  • CAW Local 199 Badges

    A selection of Local 199 badges that include a small 50th anniversary (1936-1986), St. Catharines UAW Hockey Club, Local 199 St. Kitts in the shape of a maple leaf, and a round Local 199 UAW St. Catharines.
  • Selection of Union Pins and Buttons

    A selection of pins and buttons including various UAW, CAW, Unifor from Local 199 and other locals.
  • Strike Poster "Unite to Stop The Harris Attacks"

    A strike poster that reads "Campaign For A General Strike United to Stop The Harris Attacks, Defend Workers' Rights, Public Services, Education and Social Programs! No Workfare! No Privatization! No Scabs!".
  • Photograph - International Union of United Automobile Workers of America, Cleveland, Ohio, March 1939

    A photograph of the International Union of United Automobile Workers of America in Cleveland, Ohio in March 1939. There are hundreds of men and women lined up along the street in front of a large concrete building. The black and white photograph is torn in one section and is 38.5 x 9 inches.
  • Photograph - McKinnon Industries Annual Picnic, Grimsby Beach, 24 July 1920

    A photograph of the McKinnon Industries annual picnic at Grimsby Beach on July 24, 1920. There are rows of people all seated on the ground or on the bleachers. The photograph includes a racist depiction. *** Please note: This photograph contains imagery that reflect the time period when it was created and the view of its creator. This can include offensive and negative language, references, and stereotypes that are no longer used or appropriate today. The item(s) retain their original content to ensure that attitudes and viewpoints are not erased from the historical record. The Archives & Special Collections are actively working on including more respectful and representative language in our own descriptions now and into the future.
  • CAW Autoworkers Village, n.d.

    A series of photographs showing the construction and completion of the CAW Autoworkers Village on Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ontario. The colour photographs show construction of the village buildings, village roads, and the sign at the front of the CAW Autoworkers Village.
  • Photograph - Local 199 Supporting RWDSU Strike Against Eaton's, 1985

    A photograph of three people holding signs that read "RWDSU On Strike Against Eaton's" and "UAW Local 199 Supports the Eaton's Strikers". The Local 199 union, along with other unions, were supporting the Retail and Wholesale Department Union during their strike. The photograph is in black and white.
  • Official Opening Port Elgin Family Education Centre, 1 October 1988

    CAW Canada (1988-10-01)
    A booklet from the official opening of the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario on October 1, 1988. The booklet includes the ceremony schedule and a summary of the plan, building and final construction of the centre.
  • The First GM Agreement in Canada April, 1937

    General Motors of Canada (1973-04)
    A copy of the first GM agreement in Canada from April 1937. The two page document is sorted into the following subheadings: Hours of Work, Wages, Seniority, Grievance Procedure, Rest Period, Pay Day, Production Basis, No Discrimination Clause.
  • CAW History Timelines 1985-2005

    CAW (2005)
    A document outlining the 20 year anniversary timelines of the CAW history. Included in this document are: The Union, Big 3 Bargaining, Major Mergers, The Economy, Politics, Bargaining Philosophy, Pensions, Wages, Benefits, Working Time, Restructuring and Worker Security, Quebec, Working Conditions, Equality, Education, Skilled Trades, Organizing, Communities and Solidarity, Environment.
  • Official Opening Ceremony Program for UAW Centre, 1 September 1973

    Local 199 UAW (1973-09-01)
    A program for the official opening of the Local 199 UAW Centre on Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ontario. The program outlines the days events that included: President of Local 199 UAW Remarks, Presentation of Key, Unveiling of Plaque, Presentation of Gavel, etc.
  • 50 Years of Service To Our Members and The Community, 13 December 1986

    Local 199 CAW (1986-12-13)
    A program for the celebration of the Local 199 50th anniversary on December 13, 1986. The program includes a history of the Local 199, guest list, menu, and 50th anniversary committee members list.
  • Women's Auxiliary News, January-February 1969

    UAW (1969-02)
    An issue of the UAW Women's Auxiliary News for January - February 1969. This issue includes: National Brotherhood Week; Happy New Year 1969; Niagara Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association Aided by Women's Auxiliary No. 50 UAW; Suggested Auxiliary Calendar; UAW Dolls Displayed At Solidarity House; Happiness is a Surprise Gift; Motorist's Prayer; Please Don't Buy California Grapes; News From Our Auxiliaries; AUX. 243 Evansville, Indiana; AUX. 337 Buffalo, New York; AUX. 385 Peoria, Illinois; AUX. 50 St. Catharines, Ontario; AUX. 370. Saginaw, Michigan; AUX. 314 Detroit, Michigan; Past President Pins Available, Resolved, Our Auxiliaries' Real Boss.
  • Hayes Dana Contact, Winter 1978

    Reid, Pat (1978)
    An issue of the Hayes Dana publication Contact for the Winter of 1978. The issue includes: Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes For the Coming Year, Christmas With The DePetris Family, A Ukrainian Christmas From The Past, Christmas In Vienna, Christmas in Poland, Christmas in Spain, The True Meaning of Christmas, Christmas in Scandinavia, Happiness For Others is Aim of Hayes-Dana Christmas Barrels, Junior Achievements Works, Shop Champions, Byers Initiates Training Program, New Retirees, Life, Apprenticeships Completed.
  • CAW-Canada / General Motors Bargaining Report, 1999

    CAW Canada (1999-10)
    An issue of the CAW-Canada/General Motors Bargaining Report with highlights of the tentative agreement. The issue includes: GM Workers Mark The Millennium With Major Gains, President's Message, Message From Jim O'Neill (Secretary-Treasurer), Message from Mike Shields (Chairperson CAW/General Motors Master Bargaining Committee), Wages, Pension Plan Improvements, Job and Income Security Program, Time of the Job, Paid Holiday Schedule, New and Expanded Training Programs, Skilled Trades, Message From Luc Desnoyers (CAW Quebec Director), New Initiatives for the Family, Improved Insurance Benefits, Health Care Improvements, Health and Safety.
  • GM Canada St. Catharines Plants, Vol.1 No. 1, 1978

    General Motors (1978)
    The first issue of General Motors Canada St. Catharines Plant: Let's All Build Together. The issue includes: A Message From Our Manager, Financial Department, Axle Plant, Safety Tips, 1978 Events, Events and Happenings, Down Memory Lane, Retirement, Working Together - The United Way, Congratulations To..., Engine Plant, People Have Ideas, Foundry Awards of Merit, What's In a Name.
  • 199 News, September and October 2008

    Local 199 UAW (2008-09)
    An issue of 199 News for September and October 2008. This issue includes: Remembering Brother Gabe MacNally, Farewell Message From Buzz Hargrove, GM Benefit Highlights, Asbestos Exposures Documented, Do We Need All This Stuff?, Local 199 Welcomes Border Pontiac, A Little About Genaire, The Caretaker's Gift, Vote October 14 For Change!, Labour Day Parade, Retirees' Recreation Report, Harper Shows No Support For Job Losses, GM Contract Ratification, New Courses At Local 199, 2008 Retirees Updates, CAW Supports National Day of Action For First Nations, A Woman's Work Is Never Done!, Congratulations to Our Latest Retirees!, Western Cultures Influence Asian, Reduce Reuse Recycle, Kid's Christmas Party Changes Format, Zooz Family Picnic, No Justice No Peace, GM Chairperson.
  • 199 News, April and May 2008

    Local 199 UAW (2008-04)
    An issue of 199 News for April and May 2008. This issue includes: Niagara Region Manufacturing Matters Campaign a Success..., Bethlehem Project Comes to a Close, Document Asbestos Exposure!, Call Your Reps!, Chilling News About The "Dying" Industry, Retirees' Recreation Report, Retirees' Report, Close To Home: We Are What We Buy, Make Everyday Earth Day!, Buy Local...Buy Canadian, In Other's Words, Obituaries, Zero Tolerance For Harassment, GM Pension Update, One Job Loss May Seem Insignificant...Unless It's Yours!, GM Spousal Audits: Please Read!, Working Alone Must Never Happen, Freedom of Speech VS. Pro-Hate, Fun and Games, National Day of Silence For Slain Student, Organizing Critical To Local, Fundraisers!, CAW Get The Blues For Autism Niagara, Manufacturing Matters!!
  • 199 News, September 2007

    Local 199 UAW (2007-09)
    An issue of 199 News for September 2007. This issue includes: Our Jobs, Our Communities, and Our Future; Around The Local, Brian Cullen, Brunner, Coutts, David Chev Olds, Ed Learn Ford, Edscha, FirstOntario Credit Union, Genaire, Lafrate, John Bear, Neptunus, Securitas, Seneca, Tora; Fight For Change: Vote Oct. 10th, Rebuilding Union Power; Is Global Warming Making You Sick?!; Fair Industrial Hydro Rates; GM's Green Initiative Endangers Workers; Government Distorts Costs of P3's; Labour Day Parade 2007; Retirees' Recreation Report; Concessions: A Race To The Bottom; 2007 Retirees Updates; Why Manufacturing Matters; SUB and EI Report; New Courses At Local 199; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Bethlehem Project: Home Sweet Home!; More Women In Unions Than Men, A Canadian First; SPP Will Force Canadians To Adapt To US Policy: Harper Ignores Demands of Canadians With SPP; Golf, Picnic and Parade!; No Justice, No Peace; Environment Conference 2007.

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