Union officials representing workers at General Motors’ Ingersoll, Ontario assembly plant did not get the job security they sat out for during a recent strike, but they did get a win. As part of the new contract, it is now going to be rather costly for GM to shut down the CAMI plant in the future.
According to reports, the new contract raises the cost to GM to shut down the Chevrolet Equinox plant from $40 million to $300 million. The hike stems from new language Unifor officials managed to work into the contract, which allows workers who are at 28 years of service or higher to remain on the payroll up to two years after shutting down the plant. Why two years? Because at 30 years of service, GM has to provide them pension.
Unifor, which represents CAMI employees, says that about 1,000 of its 2,800 workforce are within two years of 30 years of service. This small change in language is yielding the significant hike in costs to GM, should they decide to shutter the plant in the future.
CAMI employees took to the picket line back on Sept. 17th on the grounds of seeking greater job security under a new collective bargaining agreement. Unifor officials sought specific language that designated CAMI as the primary producer of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover, a move that would have limited GM’s ability to ramp up production of the Equinox at two Mexican plants that have the ability to produce it.
The Mexican facilities recently secured production of the GMC Terrain from CAMI, leading to job security becoming a top-of-mind issue for CAMI employees.
After a month-long battle, Unifor was unable to secure the specific job security it was originally seeking. However, they appear have made a small win by making it more expensive for GM to close the facility.
GM Canada became the sole owner of the CAMI plant in Dec. 2009. Prior to then, the facility was jointly owned by GM Canada and Suzuki. Suzuki pulled out of the CAMI venture when it ended production of the XL7 SUV at the plant. Since then, CAMI has produced the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.