After around the clock negotiations, Unifor reached a framework with General Motors that sets a pattern in Detroit Three negotiations in Canada. Unifor and GM will continue to finalize the framework to reach a tentative agreement, the first in the 2016 round of negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers. Unifor claimed that the framework, along with stabilizing jobs with new product and investment, “recognizes the valuable contribution of the workers.” Members still have to ratify the contract.
“This framework puts into motion what will be a historic agreement to secure a future for our members, for our communities and for the auto industry in Canada,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who led the negotiations. “At this late hour we have language in place to address our bargaining priorities and there will be no strike.”
Local 222 in Oshawa, Ontario was at the center of the negotiations. Oshawa’s future was unknown past 2019 since GM moved the production of the Chevrolet Camaro to a plant in Lansing, Michigan after a previous contract four years ago. (Next Gen Chevy Camaro to Be Built in the Lansing, Michigan Plant) Moreover, GM closed a truck plant in Canada seven years ago.
During 2015, GM Canada increased its market share to 13.6% and sold 263,335 vehicles through Canada’s largest network of 451 dealerships. Canada is GM’s 5th largest sales market by country. Canada is also the 3rd largest Cadillac market in the world, and the 2nd largest GMC market in the world. They are extremely profitable product lines.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector. Unifor was formed Labor Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged. Unifor represents more the 23,000 workers at Canadian Detroit Three automakers, and more than 310,000 members in every major sector of the Canadian economy.
Unifor picked GM as the target company on September 6 to set a pattern in its negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers in Canada, GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. A strike deadline was set for Tuesday, September 20.
General Motors employs 4,000 Unifor members in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock making the Impala, Equinox, Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS, and GMC Terrain, as well as engines, transmissions and components.
Ford Motor Company Next?
There are issues at Ford Motor Company pending with its Windsor, Ontario engine plant, whose future is also uncertain. (Ford Invests $1.6 Billion in Mexico. NAFTA Sucking Sound of Lost U.S. Jobs Continues During Fierce Presidential Race) Unifor hasn’t said who the next auto company will be.