GM Reaches Deal with Canadian Auto Workers

Uniform Local 88 holding ratification vote on Monday.

by on Oct.15, 2017

After four weeks on the picket lines, it appears Unifor employees have struck a deal with GM. (Photo credit: Arnie De Vaan)

Striking Canadian auto workers said late Friday they had reached a tentative deal to end a four-week-old walkout at a key GM assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

“The Master Bargaining Committee, along with our Unifor National Representatives, is pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been achieved,” Unifor Local 88 said on its website.

Union News!

“Details of the Tentative Agreement will not be released until the membership ratification meeting,” the Local said in its announcement, adding it would hold a ratification meeting and vote on Monday.

“Members are still required to report for their scheduled picket assignment until the tentative agreement has been successfully been ratified,” the group noted.

(GM tells Unifor Equinox going to Mexico if strike doesn’t end. For the story, Click Here.)

The strike, which involves 2,750 GM of Canada employees, began Sept. 17, and has evolved into the longest strike at a GM factory in North America since 1998.

Unifor President Jerry Dias speaks to striking workers at GM's Ingersoll, Ontario, plant.

The action was sparked by union anger and frustration over GM’s decision to move production of the GMC Terrain from Ingersoll to GM’s assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The move idled some 600 members of Local 88.

GM warned Unifor, the Canadian union represent the strikers, that it could scale back plans for producing vehicles at the plant, which is located in between Detroit and Toronto, and shift more production of the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox to other assembly plants in Mexico.

(Click Here for details about Unifor’s demand for new product in Ingersoll.)

GM’s threat, which came after negotiations broke off on Oct. 5, angered Unifor President Jerry Dias, who said it demonstrated “coldhearted indifference” on the part of the company. “This is a callous and heartless attitude for General Motors to take toward a community that has worked so hard to build its top-selling vehicles,” Dias said in a statement posted on the web site.

“GM is turning its back on the entire community,” Dias added GM has rejected a Unifor proposal to name CAMI as the lead producer of the Equinox, saying it can meet production needs for the vehicle at its Mexican factories.

The strike was also putting pressure on GM, noted John Rosevear, an analyst with the Motley Fool web site, in a post about GM’s supply of Equinoxes steadily dwindling down to around 40 days, which isn’t a lot in the face of competition from Toyota, Honda and Ford who are eager to cash in one of the only vehicle segments that has shown growth this year.

(To see more about the negotiations between GM and Unifor, Click Here.)

The Equinox is one of GM’s newest products and is now the second-most popular vehicle sold by GM’s Chevrolet Division. Only the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck outsells the Equinox, now the only vehicle now made at the Ingersoll plant.

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