The Unifor Local 88 union that represents employees at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario have authorized a strike. CAMI is the primary producer of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover for the North American market.
Unifor stated Sunday that the union felt a strike was imminent as they and GM have been unable to secure a labor agreement for the facility. The existing labor contract expired Sunday evening at 10:00 p.m., which is when the strike was authorized.
“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,” GM said in a statement late Sunday.
The primary difference appears to be with job security. Unifor is asking GM to make a long-term commitment to the plant with future investments and products, but thus far has been unwilling to make such commitments to Unifor.
GM recently laid off 400 employees at the CAMI plant, while 200 more took early retirement packages. The layoffs were largely attributed to moving production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico.
A long-term strike at CAMI could have sales and financial ramifications to GM. The redesigned Equinox is a hot-seller in today’s SUV-centric environment and the vast majority of them are supplied by CAMI. GM has the ability to produce the Equinox at two of its Mexico plants as well, but thus far those plants have churned out less than 1-percent of total Equinox output this year.
It isn’t clear if GM could quickly ramp up Equinox production in Mexico further to offset the loss of CAMI.