Restoring jobs at Canadian General Motors plant essential to new contract: union

unifor

General Motors need to restore hundreds of jobs being cut at a successful southern Ontario assembly plant or risk failing reach a new contract with the factory’s employees this fall, the president of Canada’s biggest vehicle workers union stated.

In an unforeseen decision, General Motors is cutting 625 jobs at its CAMI automobile assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, by the end of July as it phases out production of two current generation cars and moves some production to Mexico.

The relocation to move some jobs to Mexico comes at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has prompted automakers to build more American plants and invest more in USA, than in Mexico.

Securing jobs will be essential to a cumulative agreement to change the one ending in September in between GM and its 2,800 CAMI employees, stated Unifor president Jerry Dias by phone.

While Dias anticipates Ingersoll negotiations to start in late summertime, Unifor is already increasing pressure on General Motors to restore the jobs at the plant, which constructed 310,000 vehicles in 2016.

“We’re going to have to find a solution,” stated Dias. “And we’re going to have to find a solution now, instead of waiting for September.”

Dias has blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Mexico’s lower labor expenses for the job losses, which it called unjustified given strong sales of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and GMC Terrain sport utility vehicle assembled at the plant. The next-generation Equinox will be developed at CAMI, while the new Terrain will be produced in Mexico.

CAMI is the plant which manufactures the most Equinoxes, General Motors’ top-selling crossover, stated Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions LLC.

“If they strike there and the most of Equinoxes come out of CAMI, that offers Unifor some power,” he stated.

Ingersoll was not part of a four-year labor deal the union worked out with GM Canada last September, which protected C$ 554 million ($422.6 million) of financial investments for other plants.

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