The union that represents most Canadian autoworkers has voted a strike mandate, it stated on Sunday, strengthening its position in contract settlements with the Big Three U.S. automakers.
Unifor, which represents over 20,000 autoworkers, is pushing General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford to invest further in the province of Ontario, home to almost all of Canada’s auto market, in talks that started this month.
Members voted near 100 percent in favor of giving Unifor a mandate to strike, according to a declaration from the union.
That implies workers remain in a position to stroll off the job if the parties can not come to terms. The union’s current four-year contract with car manufacturers expires on September 19.
Unifor President Jerry Dias has said the union is requesting higher wages and would not concur to a deal unless General Motors commits to developing new vehicles in Oshawa, and Ford chooses to keep its engine plant running in Windsor.
General Motor’s Oshawa plant could shut among its two assembly lines, with a number of cars currently produced elsewhere or anticipated to move in 2017.
From 2001 and 2013, some 14,300 jobs were lost in vehicle manufacturing in Canada, as per Hamilton’s Automotive Policy Research Center. Some car manufacturers have found more affordable labor in locations such as the southern United States and Mexico.
General Motors Canada has stated the negotiations are separate from the automaker’s future investments due to the fact that labor is not the only expense it thinks about when deciding where to make brand-new products.
General Motors said it will make future product decisions for Oshawa just after a labor agreement.
Car manufacturers, however, had consented to make financial investments during bargaining with the United Auto Workers in the United States. General Motors’s 2015 deal with the UAW produced $1.9 billion in added investment in U.S. plants.
General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford have not yet made any comments.