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: https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/16977

Recent Submissions

  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 13 No. 2, June-July 1949

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1949-07)
    An issue for June-July 1949 of McKinnon Doings. This issue includes: "Boss" Kettering Feted, The McKinnon People, The Careless Man, The Cover, Bank Branch to Open, The Highway Hazard, "What's The Take?, Once Over Lightly, Safety, Suggestion Award Winners, Vice-Regal Visit, Oldsmobile, Soap Box Derby, The McKinnon Industries Ambulance Division No. 109, Inspection, Breezing Around, Athletic Association, Just Before The Battle Safe on Third, McKinnon Headliners.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 8 No. 6, October 1944

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1944-10)
    An issue of McKinnon Doings for October 1944. The issue includes: Where Does a Job Come From, Why a Victory Loan, Toscanini Conducts, Necrology, Suggestion Award Winners, Once Over Lightly, Safety, Blood Donors, To The Ladies, Fulfill Many Tasks, Paris Liberated, Our Stake in Victory, Leading Ladies, Mary Moore New Chairman, Hallowe'en Treat, As a Refresher, Engagements, Marriages, Births, Good First Meal Pays Dividends, Girls' Bowling, Toscanini Conducts GM Symphony in Beethoven Festival over NBC, Mail Presents Early, Softball, Winter Sports, Appointed Director, Association Re-Organizes, Basketball, Men's Bowling, McKinnon Fellows at The Front. **Please note: This record contains imagery that reflect the time period when it was created and the view of its creator(s). 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.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 8 No. 3, June 1944

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1944-06)
    An issue of McKinnon Doings for June 1944. This issue includes: Invasion Opens! Greatest Invasion Force in History Lands in North France By Air, Sea, Land, Vacation Allowance, GM Safety Award, Dr. Black Radio's Busiest Conductor, Annual Picnic Toscanini Returns to GM Hour, Suggestion Award Winners, Once Over Lightly, Safety, Dining and Dancing, To the Ladies, Births, Engagements and Marriages, Introducing Our Girl Reporters, Favorite Recipes, They're Off, Chills, Thrills and Spills, Ask Sally, Picnic Programme, The Men's Corner, Softball, Standings, 1944 House League Bowling Champs, Invasion Opens!, The McKinnon War Album.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 7 No. 12, March 1944

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1944-03)
    An issue of McKinnon Doings from March 1944. The issue includes: Things I Never Knew 'Til Now About Canada's War Effort, The Old Timers, Red Cross Over the Top, GM Symphony Program, Book Offered, File That Return, Suggestion Award Winners, Safety, Once Over Lightly, Score on More Club Dinner, To The Ladies, Engagements, Marriages, Births, Ask Sally, Favorite Recipes, Girls Bowling, Men's Sports, Tool Room Team Cops 1944 Title, Basketball, Shovin' Off for the Navy, Men's Bowling, Sports Roundup, Basketball Crown to Tool Room, Minstrel And Variety Show, McKinnon Fellows at The Front. **Please note: This record contains imagery that reflect the time period when it was created and the view of its creator(s). 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.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 7 No. 9, Christmas 1943

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1943-12)
    An issue of McKinnon Doings at with the date "Christmas 1943". This issue includes: The Children's Festival, Dreamworld of Christmas, The Telephone is 3849, Suggestion Plan, Award Winners, Once Over Lightly, Delco Delicacy, Overseas Cigarette Fund, Christmas Dance, Merry Macks Feted, Millionaires Night, On the Way, To The Ladies, Marriages, Births, Engagements, By Grapevine, There's Fightamins in Fruits and Vegetables!, War-Time Manners, Girls' Bowling, Favorite Recipes, Shop League Hockey, Men's Bowling, This is a Good Deal Farther Back Than You can Remember, Safety, McKinnon Fellows at The Front.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 7 No. 5, August 1943

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1943-08)
    An issue of McKinnon Doings for August 1943. The issue includes: No Time for Over-Optimism or Slackening Says Production Chief, Sponsors NBC Symphony, New Gas Books, Ration Books Issued, More About Suggestions, Award Winners, Once Over Lightly, Production Upped When Needed Machine Tools Not Available, McKinnon Picnic Enormous Success, The McKinnon Picnic Photographs, Girls' Industrial Softball, Favorite Recipes, Bond Room Ramblings, New Service Club Formed, Riding Club, Commissioned, New Furniture for Old, Receivers' Reception, Softball Siftings, The Four Musketeers, Your Lunch and the War Effort, Can If You Can, This-a and Dat-a, Winners of the Thirty-One Draw Prizes at Picnic, Some of the Field Events Winners, On the Record, Safety, McKinnon Fellows at the Front, The McKinnon War Album.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 5 No. 12, March 20th, 1942

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1942-03-20)
    An issue of the McKinnon doings titled "A Personal Inspection". The issue includes: A Visit and a Message, Victory Loan Goes Over the Top, Fuse Dept. Makes Second Contribution to Mayor Daley's Fund, Attention - Victory Bond Purchasers, Once Over Lightly, Gags in the Night, Safety, The Fair Sex, McKinnon Bowlers Journey to Oshawa, Minstrel Show!, McKinnon Blood Donors, Serving Their Country.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 6 No. 1, April 24th, 1942

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1942-04-24)
    An issue of the McKinnon Doings titled "Boing Gun Gear Boxes". The issue includes: The Plebiscite, Small Tool Shortage, New Suggestion Awards, Our Gun Division, Safety, McKinnon Shop League Hockey Champions, McKinnon Entertainers Score Again, Gear 35 Plant Hockey Champions, Krazy Kwiz, The Four-Way Machine For Army Truck Differential Trunnions, A Glance Through the Gun Plant, Serving Their Country.
  • McKinnon Doings, Vol. 5 No. 6, July 4th, 1941

    McKinnon Industries Limited (1941-07-04)
    An issue of the publication McKinnon Doings from July 4th, 1941. Some of the articles include: Canada Carries On, McKinnon Kamera Klub Komments, Important to Victory Bond Holders, Bell Dial System Inaugurated Tomorrow, Receipts and Disbursements of Minstrel Show, McKinnon Doings Going Overseas, Shop Softball League Starts, Intermediate Industrial League, Safety, Wise or Otherwise, Women of To-Day, Thankful, Senior City League Notes.
  • War Worker, Volume 1 No. 1, 9 October 1943

    UAW-CIO (1943-10-09)
    An issue of the publication "War Worker" published by the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW-CIO). The issue includes: Hayes Local Wants Change, Union Ignored; Brings Protest, Steward Body Grows; Local 195 Reorganizes, UAW Over Million, Why Join a Union?, Jobs For All After the War, Bulletin Board, Niagara United Labor Committee Meets Institute, Wire Daley Over Delay, UAW-CIO Representative's Son Gets Wings and Commission, UAW Enters Hamilton, Massey-Harris Goes UAW.
  • Photograph - Interior CAW Hall Local 199 Bunting Road, St. Catharines, Ontario, n.d.

    n.d.
    A black and white photograph of the interior of the CAW Hall Local 199 on Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ontario. The main hall is shown empty, but chairs are set up facing the stage.
  • Photograph - Opening of CAW Local 199 Hall, 1 September 1973

    Conley, Mike (1973-09-01)
    A black and white photograph of the opening of the Local 199 CAW Hall on Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ontario. The photograph includes Jim Connell (President 199) and Leonard Woodcock (UAW President) looking at plaque dedication on the wall of the new hall.
  • Photograph - CAW Hall Local 199, St. Catharines, n.d.

    n.d.
    A photograph of the CAW Hall Local 199 on Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ontario. The building was opened in 1973.
  • Photograph - Construction on Local 199 CAW Hall, n.d.

    n.d.
    A black and white photograph of the construction work to the Local 199 CAW Hall on Chestnut Street in St. Catharines, Ontario.
  • Photograph - Teen Dance Event at Union Hall, 18 January 1958

    Sinclair, Don (1958-01-18)
    A black and white photograph of a teen dance event at the union Hall for the UAW on Chestnut Street in St. Catharines, Ontario. There are several teens crowded around a sign that reads "U.A.W. Bandstand" and two teens are holding a record.
  • Photograph - UAW Celebrating 20th Anniversary, 1955

    1955
    A black and white photograph of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the UAW (United Auto Workers). There are several men standing and seated in front of a 20th anniversary sign.
  • Photograph - Meeting to Fight for Wage Parity with US, 1967

    Roebuck (1967)
    A black and white photograph a meeting in progress to fight for wage parity with auto workers in the United States. There are several rows of workers seated while raising a hand in the air.
  • Photograph - Strike Headquarters for Local 199 at Cappy's Lunch, 1948

    1948
    A black and white photograph of the strike headquarters for the Local 199 UAW - CIO. The locations is Cappy's Lunch at 290 Ontario Street in St. Catharines, Ontario. There are several people lined up on the street in front of the diner.
  • Photograph - Strike at McKinnon Industries, 1948

    1948
    A black a white photograph of the workers of McKinnon Industries picketing while on strike. Their signs mention paid holidays and wages. They are picketing outside the rear axle gear division.
  • Photograph - McKinnon Industries Office, ca 1950

    Walker, Alan (ca 1950)
    A photograph of the offices at McKinnon Industries. There are several people working in a room full of desks.

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