Striking Canadian autoworkers confirm General Motors deal

Canadian made matters

Striking Canadian employees on Monday voted almost 86 percent in support of a new four-year contract with General Motors in a deal that would make it more expensive for the United States carmaker to close the Ontario plant.

GM and the union, Unifor, had reached a tentative deal on Friday for about 2,500 employees at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, following a near month-long strike.

The employees walked off the job on September 18 after the carmaker turned down a union call to designate the factory as the lead production spot for its popular Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle model in North America.

The strike came after union demands for guarantees to avoid GM from moving Canadian production of the strong-selling Equinox towards two factories in Mexico at a time when the carmaker has actually been downsizing producing in Canada.

The deal would develop a C$ 300 million ($239.5 million) fund for employees in case GM ever decides to shut CAMI, and employees would have to be provided early retirement incentives when it comes to layoffs, plant chair Mike Van Boekel informed Reuters in a telephone interview.

“If they want to lay any person off, it will be pricey,” Van Boekel stated.

The advantages will bring the CAMI plant in line with other unionized automaking centers in Canada, a market source stated.

About 400 employees were laid off at the plant this year after an older Equinox model was phased out and GM moved production of a similar SUV model, the Terrain, to Mexico.

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