Union says GM not following Ford contract pattern
Strike impacts engine and vehicle production
UPDATE: Late this afternoon, Unifor announced that its negotiators had reached a tentative agreement with General Motors. See below.
Around 4,300 Unifor workers at GM facilities in Canada have gone on strike this morning. The strike is a response to contract negotiations, where Unifor says GM is not matching the contract the union signed with Ford.
“This strike is about General Motors stubbornly refusing to meet the pattern agreement. The company knows our members will never let GM break our pattern – not today – not ever,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The company continues to fall short on our pension demands, income supports for retired workers, and meaningful steps to transition temporary workers into permanent, full-time jobs.”
The strike includes workers at Oshawa Assembly and CCA Stamped Products, the St. Catharines Powertrain Plant, and a parts distribution center in Woodstock. Unifor Local 88, which covers the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, is part of a separate collective agreement and so is not on strike.
Unifor’s latest contract negotiations with the Detroit Three follow what it calls pattern bargaining. An agreement is made with one of the three, and the same basic agreement is brought to the other two. Ford was the first target for negotiations, and the company reached an agreement with its workers in late September.
The union said that GM is resisting issues on full-time temporary worker classification, health allowance for retirees, and “future product investment commitments.”
In a statement, GM Canada said “GM Canada presented Unifor with a record economic offer that recognizes the many contributions of our represented team members – past, present, and future. However, there are some final outstanding items to be resolved at the bargaining table. We are committed to quickly reaching a new collective agreement so that we can all get back to work while positioning both our people and GM Canada for continued success in the future.”
Update: A tentative agreement reached between GM and Unifor has put the union’s workers back on the job. Unifor announced that all affected GM facilities would return to work as of 2:30 pm this afternoon. While the new collective agreement has not yet been voted on by members, Unifor said that it will include wage increases of 20 percent for production and 25 percent for skilled trades, cost of living-based increases, and the conversion of all full-time temporary workers with one year of seniority to permanent. It would also include adding Family Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as paid holidays.