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GM, Unifor Making 'Little Progress' On Labor Negotiations

GM, Unifor Making 'Little Progress' On Labor Negotiations

Canadian union Unifor says the labor organization has made little progress in negotiating with General Motors regarding the ongoing strike at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. The Unifor Local 88 have been striking at the plant since Sept. 17th, cutting off nearly all supplies of the popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

The impasse between Unifor and GM appears to be centered around job security. Union officials are seeking strong job commitments from GM for the plant, including a commitment that it will remain the primary assembly plant for Equinox production. These commitments are stemming from the fact GM recently moved production of the GMC Terrain from the CAMI plant to a plant in Mexico, resulting in 400 fewer jobs at CAMI.

GM is not likely to make strong job commitments at the plant. As talk continues to bubble that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be renegotiated, uncertainty in the external environment remains high.

Last week talks between the two parties migrated from Ingersoll to Detroit, straight to GM’s headquarters. After expressing their primary concerns to GM brass in Detroit, GM responded to said concerns on Friday.

In a blog post on the Unifor website Dan Borthwick, the president of Unifor Local 88, said the Friday response “did not address our issues.”

Unifor is slated to provide an additional update on the talks to its membership Sunday when its national president joins the picket line in Ingersoll. All indications thus far suggest there’s been little to no progress since Friday.

The CAMI plant operates under its own collective bargaining agreement, separate from the rest of GM Canada’s assembly plants.

The strike is likely going to start impacting Chevrolet Equinox sales. At the start of September, GM has only a 53-day supply of Equinox’s in inventory; 60-70 day supplies are fairly normal in the industry. Given the popularity of the new crossover, inventory is going to get scarce quick.




About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. Tone
    I’m having a hard time seeing Unifor’s strategy here. Yes, they have a hot product, so they have some leverage. But, with the politician incertaintly around NAFTA, it would be insane for GM to provide any guarantee. Plus, we’re entering fall in Canada, with colder temperatures about 6-weeks away. How much resolve will strikers have after a long time on strike pay, manning the line in freezing temperatures? The best I can see them getting is a commitment from GM on the criteria to be the lead plant, which would probably include a certain set of conditions in NAFTA and continued government support for the plant — all things beyond the control of the union.
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