Canadian Unifor Opens Talks with Detroit Three This Week

Formal contract talks between Unifor and the Detroit Three automakers begin this week, starting with General Motors on Wednesday, followed by formal openings with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Canada on Thursday.

“There will be no deals with any of the companies without commitments from each of them for investments in Canada,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who will lead the negotiations.

Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union, with more than 310,000 members across the country, working in every major sector of the Canadian economy. Dias has an aerospace background at then de Havilland Aircraft, now Bombardier Aerospace.

Press conferences will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto after the formal openings. Negotiations will continue to the end of the month with all three companies. A pattern bargaining target will be identified in early September. Contracts with the Detroit Three companies expire at 11:59 pm on September 19, putting the two sides in a legal strike/lockout position at that time.

Dias said while the top priority will be new product, workers helped the companies weather the financial storm of 2008-9, and deserve to reap the rewards – just as shareholders and top executives have done over the last few years. Unifor’s bargaining committee chairperson for GM, Greg Moffatt says that the Buick Regal sedan and the Chevrolet Equinox SUV – strong sellers both – will end of their cycle before a redesign a year from now.

GM Canada directly employs ~8,400 employees in Canada (6,500 hourly + 1,900 salaried). GM Canada is responsible for indirectly employing a further 1,350 contract support employees, primarily in Oshawa in its OnStar customer support operations.

During 2015, GM Canada increased its market share to 13.6% and sold 263,335 vehicles through Canada’s largest dealer network of 451 dealerships. Canada is GM’s 5th largest sales market by country. Canada is the 3rd largest Cadillac market in the world. Canada is the 2nd largest GMC market in the world.

Products Produced in GM Canada

  • CAMI Assembly Plant, Ingersoll – Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain
  • Oshawa Assembly Plant – Chevrolet Equinox (Consolidated Line), Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS (Flex Line)
  • St. Catharines Propulsion Plant – V6, V8 engines, front wheel drive transmissions


About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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