General Motors workers on strike at Ontario plant


General Motors will lose an estimated 850 units of production daily due to a strike at the automaker's Ingersoll, ON, Canada, assembly plant, which builds the popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

The plant now only produces the Equinox, which is also manufactured in Mexico.

Jerry Dias, the national president of Unifor, says both the TPP and NAFTA are bad for Canadian workers.

Nearly 3,000 workers at a GM manufacturing plant in Ontario walked off the job on Sunday over concerns about the future of their jobs.

In July, GM stopped production of its Terrain sport utility vehicle model in Ingersoll, and 100 per cent of the volume was moved to Mexico, resulting in the layoffs.

Dias said GM was unwilling to designate CAMI as the lead North American producer of the Equinox, stoking concerns that GM could eventually shift production out of Canada and into Mexico.

Dias and other labor leaders in Canada, the USA and Mexico have been deeply involved in NAFTA renegotiations, which are set to resume in Ottawa on Saturday. The redesigned Equinox is a hot-seller in today's SUV-centric environment and the vast majority of them are supplied by CAMI.

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"Every member understands the importance of reaching a deal that secures production, and what that means to our families and the community", said Mike Van Boekel, Local 88 Chair at the CAMI plant.

Unifor and GM had been in talks on the weekend, but no agreement was reached by the strike deadline Sunday night. The Terrain left, they moved it to Mexico.

Among its demands, the union is seeking higher wages, better benefits, but a priority is to get GM's commitment to invest in the auto assembly factory and ensure the popular Equinox line continues at the plant. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement.

"While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement". "We're looking for a letter to guarantee that the work will stay here".

But GM also has an incentive to make this a short-term work stoppage - fickle auto buyers.

GM recently laid off 400 employees at the CAMI plant, while 200 more took early retirement packages.

The union's president called the situation "the poster child for what's wrong with NAFTA", according to Bloomberg.